New Broadcast TV Season, Same Ratings Declines

After two weeks of the new season, traditional broadcast TV network viewership metrics are following similar results from a year ago — with double-digit-percentage declines.

But the addition of  time-shifted viewing is expected to offer a better picture.

Looking at the time period from September 25 through October 8, NBC led in key 18-49 viewers for Nielsen live-program ratings-plus-same day of time-shifted viewing -- averaging a 2.0 rating/8 share, down 17% from the same two-week period a year before.

CBS was next at 1.7/7 (losing 11%) followed by ABC at 1.3/5 (dipping 13%), Fox at 1.2/5 (down 14%), and The CW at 0.2/1 (off 33%).

Total viewership declines fared a bit better.

CBS led in this area, with 9.1 million total average prime-time viewers -- down 8%, followed by NBC at 7.6 million (losing 10%); ABC with 5.6 million (falling 8%); Fox with 3.8 million (down 9%); and The CW at 958,000 (off 13%).

NBC also led among 25-54 viewers with 2.5/8 (down 17%), followed by CBS at 2.3/7 (losing 12%); ABC with 1.7/5 (down 11%); Fox at 1.5/5 (back 12%); and CW with 0.3/1 (no change).

Network executives believe that analyzing a broader picture of time-shifted viewing through three, seven, 14 or 30 days will continue to show much better comparisons.



2 comments about "New Broadcast TV Season, Same Ratings Declines".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, October 11, 2017 at 10:38 a.m.

    It's a slow leak but one that cannot be repaired. Nobody can say when it will go completely flat, but it seems sooner than later. Broadcast was great when it was the only way to distribute programming. Those days are long gone. Fond memories of a license to print money.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 11, 2017 at 12:03 p.m.

    This loss of "key" viewers per minute will continue year after year and there is litle that the broadcast TV networks can do about is under their current vision of themselves as being mass appeal programmers. That said, 18-49 may be dubbed "key" viewers because 50-55% or more of national time buys use this "metric" as their negotiating "currency"---most of the rest use 25-54.. But the 18-49s actually represent a minority of the broadcast TV networks' primetime audience. The real "key" viewers are in the 50+ "demo" and comprise well over half of those viewing. That's the group that the networks cant afford to lose.

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