New Broadcast Season Delivers Lower Overall Ratings

The first week of the new TV season shows overall total day broadcast viewership among 18-49 viewers down 8% versus a year ago, when prime-time viewership was 6% lower.

From September 24 through September 30, MoffettNathanson Research says NBC was down 10%, while CBS lost 16% and ABC was off 6%. Fox was the lone gainer, up 12% -- largely due to additional prime-time NFL games from “Thursday Night Football.”

Analyzing just prime time among 18-49 viewers, Bernstein Research says the range of winners and losers was more dramatic: Fox was up 36%, while NBC was down 6%, ABC lost 10% and CBS sank 21%. CBS' decline was due to the lack of big ratings from “Thursday Night Football.”

Still, for the first two weeks of the season through October 7, CBS and NBC are neck and neck for the top spot in total broadcast viewers.

NBC posted an average 7.69 million viewers. CBS was just a bit behind at 7.61 million, according to Nielsen data from September 23 through October 7. Fox was at 5.68 million and ABC at 5.1 million viewers.

NBC is tops among 18-49 viewers with a 1.9 rating/8 share. Fox is next at 1.7/8. Farther down the list are CBS at 1.1/5 and ABC with 1.0/5. NBC is also ahead among 25-54 viewers. NBC comes in at 2.4/8, followed by Fox at 2.1/7; CBS with 1.7/6; and ABC at 1.4/5.

Although Fox benefited from its new broadcast exclusive package of the “Thursday Night Football” series, a number of its first-week premieres were down, including “Empire,” “Star,” “Bob’s Burgers” and “Family Guy” -- declining anywhere from 8% to 22% versus a year ago.

One positive from Fox's scripted programming is “The Simpsons” premiere, which yielded flat results versus a year ago.

MoffettNathanson Research says through the first week of the new season, cable networks groups are down a collective 13%.

Time Warner was down 22%. Walt Disney and Viacom each lost 14% and independent cable networks gave up 12%. Discovery was down 10%; A+E Networks lost 9%; AMC Networks gave up 7%; NBCUniversal dropped 6%; and Fox cable networks was flat.

2 comments about "New Broadcast Season Delivers Lower Overall Ratings".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, October 10, 2018 at 12:11 p.m.

    Flat is the new up.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 12, 2018 at 9:04 a.m.

    It's very misleading to mix in football ratings with those of the various entertainment shows like this. Of course rating fragmentation will continue---especially among the relatively small younger audiences that the broadcast TV networks garner. But let's remember that adults 18-49 are well under half of those who tune in to broadcast network shows---not all of them. Also, let's understand that 18-49 or 25-54 are not brand targeting metrics, they merely serve as an umbrella for the sellers' guarantees of eyeball tonnage that protects the buyers from the cliens't bean counters if the ratings aren't as espected. Net, net: it's no big deal.

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