Quarterly Report on Prime-Time TV Ratings: ‘Broadcast Has Taken a Beating’; Here Are the Grim Numbers

Jul 16, 2012  •  Post A Comment

An analysis of the ratings for the second quarter of 2012 paints a grim picture of the situation for broadcast TV, even with DVR viewing factored in, Deadline.com reports.

Michael Nathanson of Nomura Securities says in his quarterly report on prime-time viewing: “There is no way to sugarcoat this. Broadcast has taken a beating.”

The analyst’s report, released today, focuses on the C3 metric — the same measurement advertisers and networks care about most — which adds in DVR viewing up to three days after live broadcast.

Deadline reports: “He finds that the major networks were down 9.4% among the target 18 to 49 year olds vs the same period last year while cable networks were only off 0.4%. It’s the second consecutive quarter of substantial declines for broadcasters. And it’s worrisome for them because many now want to count DVR eyeballs — even though lots of users skip over ads.”

As for live viewing, it continues to trend downward — now showing declines for 15 quarters in a row. Live viewing in Q2 was off 15.2% for broadcast nets and 4.3% for cable.

The report adds: “Fox was hit hardest with C3 ratings -18.7% followed by NBC (-11.8%) and ABC (-9.7%). CBS, however, was up 8.4%. Over in cable, companies with meaningful increases in year-over-year C3 ratings were Disney (+25.8%) and Scripps Networks (+8.8%) — results were gloomier for AMC Networks (-8.2%), Viacom (-7.7%), and Time Warner (-6.6%).”

In the good news department, the analysis found that new adopters of DVR are less eager to skip ads than earlier adopters.

“The percentage of broadcast commercials skipped by DVR users dropped to 46.7% in the 2011/2012 season from 58.8% in 2007/2008,” the story reports. “For cable, 50.4% of the ads were skipped this past season vs. 52.8% in 2007/2008.”

Meanwhile, the percentage of DVR households increased from 40% a year ago to 47% during Q2.

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