Nielsen C3 ratings, the average commercial minute ratings plus three days of time-shifting, witnessed a 7% decline in the first quarter of this years -- this versus a 6% drop in the fourth quarter 2015, according to analysis from Bernstein Research.
The data include prime time 18-49 viewers for non-kids cable and broadcast and total day 2-11 viewers for kids cable.
Taking out kids viewing, all non-kids cable TV C3 audiences declined 3% -- a big improvement over the 6% decline in the fourth quarter 2015. One of the main reasons is much higher audiences on TV news channels -- Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC in particular -- due to the strong interest in the big political season.
Broadcast TV was down 13% for the first quarter. CBS was up 18% in C3 prime time 18-49 ratings (in large part because of the Super Bowl); ABC was down 16%; NBC was off 30% (this due to poor comparisons to its Super Bowl numbers in 2015); and Fox was off 23%.
Cable TV network groups: Disney networks, down 13%; AMC Networks, off 11%; A+E Networks, off 10%; Discovery Communications, down 8%; NBCUniversal slipped 5%; Time Warner, down 2%; and Viacom was flat.
Those cable TV group that improved: Fox, up 7% and Scripps Network Interactive, gaining 4%.