August Ratings Sink, Younger Viewers Watch Less

Continuing a steep slide, Nielsen’s People Using Television numbers for August were down nearly 20% for younger demographics -- causing drops in ratings for linear TV.

MoffettNathanson Research analysis shows 19% declines each for 12-17 viewers and 18-24 viewers in August, with children 2-11 sinking 17%. These declines were at similar levels in August 2017.

People Using Television (PUT) is a percentage of people in a target audience viewing TV for more than five minutes during an average quarter-hour.

“The ratings pressure among the 18-to-49 demo is being propelled by massive drops in monthly People Using Television (PUT) trends,” writes Michael Nathanson, media analyst at MoffettNathanson.

Compared to earlier this year, these demographic groups showed drops in the 10% to 15% range from February to July.



For August viewership, broadcast and cable networks were down 12% each in prime-time among 18-49 viewers, to 3.6 million and 12.8 million, respectively. That's when looking at Nielsen C3 metric, the average commercial rating plus three days of time shifted viewing.

Considering total day, broadcast networks sank 13% (to 2.17 million) and cable was off 15% (to 7.7 million)

Nathanson adds: “The shocking decline in usage for younger demos is causing havoc for all the cable networks with target demos below 24 years old.”

Viacom, a young-skewing group of cable networks, posted a 16% drop in total day Nielsen C3 ratings among 18-49 year old viewers to 1.7 million in August.

Many other network groups, skewing to older viewers, also had similar declines: 21st Century Fox (13%); NBCUniversal (14%); A+E Networks (15%); Walt Disney (16%); and Time Warner (23%).

2 comments about "August Ratings Sink, Younger Viewers Watch Less".
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  1. Claudio Marcus from FreeWheel, September 13, 2018 at 1:18 p.m.

    The TV viewership among younger consumers is not just vanishing. It is increasingly moving to streaming and mobile devices. Here is some evidence: CSG found that 71% watch live sports through a cable subscription, with streaming video accounts for 18% of viewership and mobile 11% of viewership.


  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 13, 2018 at 2:30 p.m.

    If I read this correctly the "shocking" decline is just about the same in magnitude as last year's "shocking" decline and may well be a function of seasonlity. I assume that we will shortly be hearing about the "dynamic upsurge" in young folks' viewing that will take place once the weather becomes colder and more original content is offered by the "linear TV" channels. Sigh!

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