TV's 'Reach' Drifts Lower, Average Time Spent Per Network Rises

Although the “reach” of broadcast and cable networks has dipped in recent years, the amount of time that average viewers are spending with an individual network has climbed.

In the past five years, broadcast networks have dropped to an average 61.1% reach in the third quarter of 2019 from 78.1% in third quarter of 2014. among 18-49 viewers, while cable networks sank to an average 12.5% from 19.5%, MoffettNathanson Research analysis of Nielsen data finds.

Only six of the 101 networks tracked increased their reach in the last five years, with the NFL Network gaining the most. "Reach" is defined as the potential number of customers (or viewers) it is possible to reach through an advertising channel.



At the same time, the average length of time each viewer spends watching an individual network has risen -- 15% higher to 30.8 minutes, from 26.7 minutes in 2014 for broadcast networks, with cable networks 12% higher to 22.9 minutes from 20.4 minutes.

Six networks grew their average length of time by over 10 minutes.

Looking at both reach and average time spent over that period, the big gainers are Fox Business Network, Discovery’s Motor Trend, AMC’s Sundance TV and NFL Network. The biggest losers are TNT, AMC, Disney XD, Viceland, Investigation Discovery and Universal Kids.

2 comments about "TV's 'Reach' Drifts Lower, Average Time Spent Per Network Rises".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 30, 2019 at 12:10 p.m.

    A rather poorly done report. Are we referring to the average broadcast TV network---counting the CW and Fox networks which offer only two hours of content per night in prime and none in the early AM, daytime, early evening and late evening hours? Are we referring only to primetime or total day? Are these reach stats weekly ---monthly  or quarterly reach?Rregarding cable, what channels were included---the top 10, 50, or all of them. Same questions for time spent calculations. The numbers cited look like weekly primetime stats---are they? Actually, the average person now devotes about 2 hours per week to the 14-15 channels that are used per week. As before, any reasonably smart media planner---even at the lower levels knows that the "solution" to the "problem" that is hinted at by the headline is obvious---spread out your TV buys among more channels and dayparts to get the reach you desire. Media 101. folks.

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 30, 2019 at 12:13 p.m.

    By the way, Wayne, I'm not blaming you for the lack of clarity in this report. I suspect that you took the info as presented by the analyst.

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