TV's C3 commercial ratings revealed by Magna
Because C3 ratings are so expensive, it’s rare that anyone outside of the programmer in question gets to see them - even Wall Street analysts don’t stump for the data. Today, Magna’s Steve Sternberg, released his analysis of how everyone’s doing on what really counts: Commercial ratings. This is the first year that researchers have been able to make direct year-on-year comparisons.The 54-page report touches on everything you need to know about the broadcast networks’ C3 performance to who’s breaking through in cable. We’ve read it and pulled out the nuggets so you don’t have to (though we recommend you do).
Here are the highlights:
C3 commercial ratings in the 18-49 demographic in primetime were down 5% across the big five networks. CBS was up 4%, CW was down 22%, Fox was down 9%, NBC was down 8% and ABC down 4%.
At most broadcast networks live ratings were similar to their C3 ratings, meaning that the commercials rated on par with the programming once delayed viewing was added back in. The exception was at Fox were C3 ratings in the 18-49 category in primetime were 14% higher than the programming thanks to fans playing back shows such as Dollhouse, Bones and House and watching the ads.
The bad news for Fox, the top rated network however, are the year-on-year declines in C3 ratings at American Idol Wednesday, down 12% and American Idol Tuesday down 18% in the key ad demo. Even House was down 28% versus the previous season.
Another interesting trend identified by Sternberg and his team: season finales experienced double digit declines in 18-49s including the Fox’s American Idol finales on the respective evenings. ABC finales also showed declining interest among viewers.Grey’s Anatomy, Lost, Ugly Betty, Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters were also down in double digits.
Magna also had mixed news for cable. The good news: isn’t just the big boys such as ESPN and Turner experiencing ratings growth anymore. Sternberg’s report notes that ABC Family, Bravo, Cartoon, Food, History and Nick-at-Nite have seen C3 ratings grow by 20% in 18-49s or more in the past three seasons. But the bad news is the number of cable networks generating a household rating of a 1.0 or higher has been unchanged for past five seasons. The switch to C3 has made it harder to break the magic number. Those top rankers are: USA, Nick, Fox News, ESPN, Nick-At-Nite, TBS and TNT. During the 2007/2008 season Adult Swim and Lifetime also made the cut. (The analysis compared ratings for the October through April period.)
Other factoids of note:
The median age of a Fox viewer is over 40, while NBC and ABC both hover near 50.
DVR penetration is 31% of TV households. In primetime, time shifting only accounts for 6% of all TV viewing, but at the broadcast networks it’s 15%.
Online video: Daily viewing of online video streaming is almost equal to the daily reach of DVR playback.