February's Prime-Time C3 Ratings Drop 10%

February’s TV commercial ratings sank lower than January’s.

MoffettNathanson Research says total Nielsen 18-49 C3 viewership was down 10% in prime time to average 25.4 million and 8% for total day to 14.1 million.

Prime-time viewership decline in broadcast was down 11% to 8.8 million, with cable down 10% to 16.6 million. Looking at total day declines, cable fared worse than broadcast -- off 9% to 10.0 million versus broadcast’s 6% drop to 4.1 million. In January, broadcast was flat with cable down 7%.

MoffettNathanson Research says the decline can be partly attributed to the late 2015 rollout of Nielsen’s Expanded Audience Base (NPX) -- which initially was believed to boost ratings.

“Last year, January and February saw a sequential step up from December reflecting the benefit of Nielsen’s NPX sample. We expect these tough comps to continue to negatively impact ratings over the upcoming months.”

Looking at individual broadcast networks, Fox nearly tripled its numbers versus February 2016 -- all due to its turn airing the Super Bowl, averaging 4.6 million 18-49 C3 prime-time viewers. CBS, who had it a year ago, sank 60% to land at 1.8 million; ABC slipped 7% to 2.0 million; and NBC fell 10% to 1.3 million.



Major cable network groups all fell in prime time: Scripps Networks Interactive had the better results, down just 2%; Time Warner and AMC Networks each lost 4%; Discovery and NBCUniversal each losing 7%; Fox and Disney each declined 7%; Viacom moved 11% lower; and A+E Networks went 14% south.

Five individual cable networks were higher: CNN (up 72,000 total day C3 18-49 viewers); Fox News Channel (66,000); TV Land (37,000); ID (27,000); Food Network (2,000); and Freeform (1,000)

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