TV Viewership Erosion Sinks 4% in C3 Adult Ratings

Heading into the upfront TV market, overall TV viewership erosion stands at a modest 4% decline in April, an improvement over recent periods --- as strong advertising revenue looks to boost the next TV season. MoffettNathanson Research says cable TV networks were the better performers -- posting flat results in April at a Nielsen C3 18.2 million 18-49 viewers for prime-time programming. Broadcast networks sank 13% to 6.5 million.

In total day 18-49 viewing, broadcast fared a bit better than prime time, and cable a little worse. Cable was down 2% to 10.5 million, while broadcast was down 9% to 3.6 million. Nielsen C3 ratings are the average commercial minute ratings plus three days of time-shifted viewing.

Broadcast networks were hurt in prime time by the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game going to Turner networks from CBS.



Analysts are expecting an improved upfront advertising market -- boosting revenue by 3% to 4% on average for broadcast and cable networks, following on the heels of a strong scatter market, which witnessed healthy double-digit percentage gains.

In April, CBS was down 24% to 1.72 million prime time 18-49 viewers. ABC was also off 24% to 1.55 million viewership due to general program weakness, while NBC slipped 5% to 1.60 million viewers.

Fox scored big results, up 24% to 1.66 million. The new season of Fox’s “Empire,” which a year ago started its series debut in the first quarter, debuted its latest season in the second quarter.

Broadcast networks has been declining in prime-time C3 18-49 viewers since the start of the season, down in October 2015 by 8% in prime time 18-49 viewers -- then declines of 7% (November 2015); 7% (December 2015); 11% (January 2016); 12% (February 2016); 13% (March 2016); and 13% (April).

The best-performing cable group in April was AMC Networks, up 33% to 942,000 C3 18-49 prime-time viewers, due to new episodes of “Better Call Saul” and “Fear the Walking Dead.” Fox cable networks were 3% higher to 1.2 million; Disney, 2% more to 1.3 million; Time Warner, up 2% to 3.3 million; and Scripps Networks Interactive inching up 1% 1.1 million.

Sinking in April were Viacom, down 5% to 2.8 million; A+E Networks, losing 9% to 1.3 million; NBCUniversal, off 12% to 2.2 million; and Discovery Communications, sinking 13% to 1.8 million.

2 comments about "TV Viewership Erosion Sinks 4% in C3 Adult Ratings".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, May 16, 2016 at 1:45 p.m.

    Just so some of our digital friemds don't misinterpret the numbers cited, the broadcast 18-49 primetime rating losses are not cummulative---the networks aren't down 71% for the season, only about 10% as an average. And the results for the networks' key demo--- 50+----which are not cited, are probably not down more than a few percentage points. I think it would be informative if season-to-date averages were provided in such articles, including a tally for all adults and the 50+ segment as well as the 18-49s. That way we get a more complete picture. Just a suggestion, Wayne.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, May 17, 2016 at 9:03 a.m.

    Oh dear. I misspelled "friends". Sorry folks.

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