Twentieth First Century Fox, Scripps Networks Interactive, Time Warner and Viacom witnessed slight overall declines to their networks in March versus the same month a year ago, according to Brian Wieser, senior research analyst at the Pivotal Research Group.
Fox was down to 9.6 minutes per hour from 9.7 minutes per hour. Fox's broadcast network ratings were down -- with cable channels FX and FXX showing stable viewership, says Wieser. Fox News nearly doubled its viewership, due to heightened interest this political season.
Scripps Networks went to 13.5 minutes from 13.6 minutes per hour. Wieser explains that ratings at HGTV were generally up, offsetting “reduced ad loads leading to slightly total inventory gains.” Food Network had softer ratings with slightly higher commercial loads.
Time Warner was down to 9.1 from 9.3 minutes per hour -- with ratings and ad loads at TBS down. Stable ratings were found at TNT and truTV with ad loads falling. CNN -- witnessing higher viewership from political interest -- had more commercial activity per hour.
Viacom went lower overall to 15.0 minutes per hour versus 15.1. Still, Viacom networks overall tallied the highest commercial glut of any TV network group.
Wieser says commercial loads -- and ratings -- were down slightly at MTV. TV Land and Spike were down more in ratings and commercial loads down as well. VH1 and Nick-at-Nite had a positive picture -- up in ratings and down in commercial loads.
Recently, both Viacom and Turner executives expressed a desire to cut back on advertising on some of its networks.
Overall national TV commercial ad loads were up 10.7 minutes per hour from 10.6 minutes. CBS was up to 13.0 minutes from 12.8; AMC Networks grew to 12.5 from 11.6; NBCUniversal, climbed 11.2 from 10.8; Discovery was up to 9.8 from 9.4; and Disney was higher to 7.8 from 7.7.