National TV Networks Sink 7% In July C3 Ratings

After some pretty decent viewership metrics for cable TV networks in 2016, July’s numbers sank sharply.

Cable TV networks were down 7% in 18-49 viewers to 15.7 million, per MoffettNathanson Research, for Nielsen's C3 rating -- the average commercial ratings plus three days of time-shifted viewing.

Cable ratings were flat in the three previous months and down 4% in January, 3% in February and 2% in March. A year ago, cable networks were down 8% for the same July period.

Broadcast networks were also off 7% for the month to 4.6 million 18-49 viewers -- worse than the recent months -- but actually better than earlier in the year when they lost in January (11%), February (12%), March (13%), and April (13%). A year ago in July, broadcast networks were down 4% among 18-49 viewers.



NBC fared the best in July -- because of its Olympic trials and pre-Olympic programming as well as “America’s Got Talent” -- up 9%, to average 1.5 million 18-49 viewers in prime time. ABC lost 3% to 1.2 million; CBS slipped 9% to 995,000. Fox sank a big 35% to 878,000 -- the network had the highly rated FIFA Women’s World Cup a year ago.

The best-performing cable network group was Time Warner, up 4% to 2.5 million, largely because of high CNN ratings from strong political season programming. Scripps Network Interactive gained 2% to 1.2 million due to better Travel Channel numbers.

Viacom was down 1% to 2.7 million, NBCUniversal dropped 5% to 2.1 million, and Fox cable lost 6% to 1.3 million. AMC Networks were down 7% to 662,000. A+E Networks gave up 9% to 1.2 million, while Discovery lost 16% (due to the shifted timing of “Shark Week”) to 1.8 million; and Disney-ABC sank 20% to 815,000 due to losses at ESPN and Freeform.

Total day 18-49 viewing on all national TV networks was down 5% -- with broadcast losing 9% to 2.8 million and cable off 4% to 9.9 million.

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