Broadcast TV Networks: High July Reach, Some Losses

The big four broadcast networks continue to dominate the industry’s traditional Nielsen reach measures --- even as some erosion has occurred.

In July, broadcast networks had between 76% and 82% reach in the U.S. -- reach defined here as homes watching each network for at least one minute in the month, according to Pivotal Research Group.

NBC is at the top of the range at 81.7%, followed by CBS at 80%; ABC with 79.4%; Fox at 75.5%; and CW, 61.1%. CBS lost the least among the major TV networks.

Cable TV networks with the best reach continue to be major brands such as TBS, TNT, FX, USA and AMC, all posting around 50% reach during the month, and all declining to some extent -- TNT, 51.4%; TBS, 49.1%; AMC, 48.5%; USA, 48.1%; and FX, 47.9%.

Brian Wieser, senior research analyst for Pivotal, writes that the big four broadcast networks continue to have low “concentration” levels — the percentage of viewing accounted for by the top quintile of viewers.



He says: ”Both the reach and concentration metrics are illustrative of the relative efficiency of broadcast networks to advertisers, as advertising packages bought from these networks contain less unintended duplication.”

Cable news networks all gained reach during the month: CNN, 45.9%; Fox, 39.1%; and MSNBC, 38.5% --  due to the strong interest in the big political election season.

Other cable TV network are ranked as follows: Discovery, 44.2%; HGTV, 42.4%; Comedy Central, 42.3%; Spike, 42.2%; TLC, 41.5%; ESPN, 40.9%; Syfy, 40.8%; Food Network, 39.9%; Disney, 37.8%; MTV, 37.4%.

Significant reach losers in July included NBCU’s E!, Viacom’s TV Land, NBCU’s Bravo and Discovery’s Animal Planet.

1 comment about "Broadcast TV Networks: High July Reach, Some Losses".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 18, 2016 at 11:18 a.m.

    I'm surprised to see Brian using household reach tabulations in these comparisons rather than people reach which is far more indicative of the penetration of the various forms of TV program content cited. For example, assuming that these are primetime numbers---another point that needs clarification-----when CBS comes up with a household reach of 80% in a month with homes qualifying as "reached" if they tune in for at least one minute, the likliehood is that CBS's reach among all adults--- using a more realistic metric such as watched CBS content ten minutes or longer----was probably around 55- 60%, maybe less. Breaking this down finer, the 18-34 reach might be only 35% while the 55+ reach was 75%. Similar distinctions between household and viewer reach would apply to all of the networks and channels listed. Nielsen has viewer data so again, I ask why use extremely misleading household reach tallies and why qualify a home as reached if it tunes in for only one minute in a month?

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