Summer: Cable highs, broadcast lows
Regular readers know it has been a great summer for the cable networks and a pretty awful one for the broadcast networks. Multichannel News has a story on how things were in June, July and August and it was great if you were USA, but hide under the covers bad if you were ABC:
By comparison, the four major broadcast networks averaged an all-time low 23 share during the 2009 summer season — well below the 28 share NBC, ABC, CBS and Fox drew in 2008. That year, the broadcast networks’ share was paced by NBC’s 16 day Olympics coverage, which reached 211 million people, more than any other event in U.S. TV history, according to NBC Universal.
Cable’s performance is even more impressive when you take into account that viewers averaged a summer record of 32.2 hours per person per week of television viewing from June to August, according to Turner.
“Less than a quarter of the viewing in households during the summer is broadcast now — it’s the biggest loss on record for the broadcast networks, and that includes other Olympics years,” said Turner Broadcasting System chief research officer Jack Wakshlag.
Along with the Olympics factor, Wakshlag also pointed to the recent digital transition for the significant migration of viewers from broadcast to cable. “In June, all the stations lost their analog feed, and as a result, people had to figure out how to watch broadcast TV,” he said. “As a result, you have further erosion of broadcast viewers to cable, which will continue to play itself out through next June.”