Broadcast Networks Getting Crushed In Primetime; Elsewhere Not Doing As Badly

Categories: Broadcast TV

Written By

July 20th, 2009

In another tidbit from the latest Nielsen Television Audience Report, comes a chart with the different shares of TV viewing broken down by daypart. We've known that broadcast has been losing primetime share to cable networks for over a generation, and these charts highlight a drop from 51% of the primetime audience in 2001-2 to just 45% in 2007-8.

And Robert thought it interesting that while everyone was yelping about Conan vs. Dave, that ad supported cable had 64% of the audience in late night vs. just 33% for broadcast.

What I found interesting about both the Daytime and the Late Night charts was that broadcast network share had held up much better over the last 6 years in both than it had in Primetime. Neither daypart showed a very clear recent downward trend for broadcast share.

Could Jeff Zucker's strategy of focusing his broadcast resources on Daytime (for NBC, mostly the Today Show) and Late Night while putting more resources into ad supported cable primetime (USA, Syfy, Bravo) not be entirely goofy? Yikes.

Correction: As ratingswatcher noted, these Daytime numbers include only the last hour of the Today show, so my conclusion about NBC's moves isn't supported by them.

2008 TV Share

Click the chart for a full-sized version. My guess is that the shares don't add to 100 because of averaging and rounding, but the Nielsen information wasn't clear about it.

Here are the Nielsen notes for the data: Download the entire Nielsen report here.

Prior to 2006 TVA, data source was NTI Total Viewing Sources Report—Sum of Sources based on an average of November, February,
May and July each year.
2005—2006 season includes a combination of Live and Live +7 data
2006—2007 season includes Live +7 data only
2007-2008 season includes Live+7 data only
Network Affiliates:
1984-1990: ABC, CBS, NBC affiliates
1991-1999: ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX affiliates
1999-December 25, 2005: ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, WB, UPN, PAX affiliates
December 26, 2005-January 29, 2006: ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, WB, UPN, UNI, PAX affiliates
January 30, 2006-February 26, 2006: ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, WB, UPN, UNI, TEL, PAX affiliates
February 27, 2006-August 27, 2006: ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, WB, UPN, UNI, TEL, TF, PAX affiliates
August 28, 2006-September 3, 2006: ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, WB, UPN, UNI, TEL, TF, AZA, PAX affiliates
September 4, 2006-Present: ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, CW, WB, UPN, UNI, TEL, TF, AZA, PAX, MNT affiliates
Independents:
1984-1991: Commercial Independent stations including FOX affiliates and TBS
1991-1999: Commercial Independent stations including WB, UPN affiliates and super stations excluding TBS
1999-2006: Commercial Independent stations including Hispanic Broadcast network affiliates excluding TBS
2006-present: Commercial Independent stations excluding Hispanic Broadcast network affiliates as they become measured in the NPM
sample excluding TBS
Note: As Hispanic networks started to be measured in the NPM sample, they were removed from Independent and placed in Network
Affiliates as stated in the Broadcast section above.  Summary of broadcast Hispanic networks are as follows:
Univision measurement began on 12/26/2005, Telemundo measurement began on 1/30/2006, Telefutura measurement began on
2/27/2006, Azteca measurement began on 8/28/2006
Public: PBS affiliates
Ad Supported Cable: 1999-present: Viewing to advertiser supported cable networks including TBS and WGN cable
All Other Cable: 1999-present: Tuning to cable networks that are neither ad supported nor premium pay, includes pay-per-view, inter-
active channels, home shopping channels, and audio only feeds.
Premium Pay Cable:
1999-present: Viewing to premium pay cable services
Pay Cable: 1984-1999: Cable subscribers receiving at least one premium channel.  This does not include Pay-Per-View
Basic Cable: 1984-1991: Tuning to basic cable including Pay-Per-View
1991-1999: Tuning to basic cable including TBS and Pay-Per-View
Effective 1991, FOX and TBS changed from Independents to Network Affiliates and Basic Cable Respectively

 
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