News Networks See Big 2016 Gains, Non-News Channels Less So

Only six non-news networks among the top 30 cable TV channels showed total viewer prime-time gains in 2016: HGTV, Hallmark Channel, Investigation Discovery, Bravo, TV Land and Nick Jr. 
Fox News Channel scored the best overall results for all networks -- up 36% to an industry-leading Nielsen cable prime-time average of 2.5 million viewers. ESPN came in at second place -- down 11% to 1.9 million viewers. USA Network lost 8% to 1.7 million, while TBS gave back 12% to 1.586 million and HGTV grew 5% to 1.583 million.



The Nielsen data comes from the measure of live program plus seven days of time-shifted-viewing from December 28, 2015 through December 18, 2016, versus a similar period the year before.

TV news channels grabbed strong viewing increases due to intense interest in the Presidential election campaign. CNN rocketed up 77% to average 1.3 million prime-time viewers to earn 10th place. MSNBC, also with strong results, was not far behind -- with a 87% gain to 1.13 million viewers, good for 12th place.

Among other top ten networks, TNT was down 10% to 1.55 million (6th place), while Discovery Channel lost 10% to 1.4 million (7th place), History went backwards 11% to 1.33 million (8th place), and Disney Channel sank 23% to 1.32 million (9th place).

In addition to HGTV, other top non-news networks made gains -- or had no change -- this year: Hallmark Channel was 10% higher to 1.05 million; Investigation Discovery was up 9% to 994,000; Bravo added 7% to 908,000; VH1 was flat at 639,000; TV Land inched up 2% to 620,000; and Nick Jr. was 43% higher to 594,000.

In the top 30, NBCUniversal’s Syfy was the big loser percentage-wise -- giving back 30% to 692,000 average prime-time viewers; Disney-ABC Television’s Disney Channel was off 23% to 1.3 million; and sister network, Freeform sank 22% to 812,000.

All top eight of the leading cable networks in prime time among 18-49 viewers lost ground, with ESPN down 12% to 816,000; TBS losing 13% to 729,000; USA Network dropping 4% to 692,000; TNT slipping 2% to 625,000; AMC Network falling 13% to 610,000; Discovery down 14% to 575,000; FX giving back 8% to 560,000; and Adult Swim losing 2% to 530,000;

1 comment about "News Networks See Big 2016 Gains, Non-News Channels Less So".
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  1. Norman Smit from Integrated Media Strategies, December 27, 2016 at 10:18 a.m.

    It would have been nice if this rise in viewership had actually seen an improvement in so-called News performing their function as the Fourth Estate instead of being repeaters of the latest misinformation being disseminated by campaign flacks.

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