More Double-Digit Declines For C3 TV Ratings, Broadcast Nets Hit Hardest

TV network ratings for July continued their steeper downward trend — 10% below results of a year ago in prime time for 18-49 viewers in the C3 metric — and down 9% in total day.

A year ago in July, U.S. TV networks lost 7% versus the same month in 2015.

MoffettNathanson Research says broadcast networks were hit especially hard — especially NBC, which dropped 20% in prime time to average 1.2 million 18-49 viewers in C3.

NBC had unfavorable comparisons to a year ago when it benefited from strong Olympic trials and pre-Olympic programming, as well as high “America’s Got Talent” ratings. Then, it was up 9%. 

ABC had it harder — down 24% (to 895,000 18-49 C3 prime-time viewers). In July 2016, ABC had a 3% drop in C3 18-49 prime time. Nielsen’s C3 metric is the average commercial minute ratings plus three days of time-shifted viewing.

Fox and CBS fared the best among the four big English-language broadcast networks: Fox down 10% to average 794,000 18-49 viewers, CBS losing 12% to 873,000.

Cable networks had a 8% decline in prime time and 9% drop in total day. In prime time, this was better than the 10% fall in June and the 13% pullback in May. It was on par with July 2016, when it fell 7%.

Looking at the cable network groups, Disney was the only one to gain versus a year ago — up 4%, averaging 887,000 18-49 C3 viewers.

A+E Networks, Viacom and AMC Networks were the next best performers: down 5% each, at 1.1 million, 2.5 million, and 632,000 viewers, respectively. Discovery lost 8% (to 1.7 million viewers), while NBCUniversal fell 12% (1.9 million); Scripps Networks Interactive sank 14% (990,000), and Time Warner was down 15% (2.1 million).

Looking at the top 25 networks a year ago, only four posted gains: Viacom’s TV Land with 37,000 more among 18-49 total day C3 viewers; Discovery’s ID network, adding 22,000; Viacom’s MTV, up 5,000; and Discovery’s TLC channel, also up 5,000.

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