Nathanson: C3 Ratings Post Declines in January

Cable news networks posted biggest gains

TV viewership, as measured by the C3 ratings used to buy and sell advertising, fell in January.

According to an analysis by Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson Research, C3 ratings were down 5% among adults 18-49 in primetime. Ratings were down 9% in total day.

Broadcast network primetime ratings were flat in primetime, while cable was off 7%.

Nathanson notes that the decline in C3 ratings comes a year after Nielsen expanded the sample that it uses to measure TV viewing. That expansion gave many networks a boost that is now being lapped.

“This could lead to a return of normalized low-single digits television advertising growth as tough scatter comps are anniversaried and ratings growth turns more negative,” Nathanson said in his report.

Among the broadcast networks, ABC, NBC and CBS all posted gains, while Fox, which had American Idol and The X-Files a year ago, was down substantially.

In cable, 21st Century Fox was down the least in primetime among 18 to 49s, thanks in part to Fox News' coverage of the Donald Trump Administration. Disney was down the most, with its NBA and Monday Night Football ratings down.

Cable total day ratings were also off 7%. Fox was up 2%. A+E Networks was down 17%.

Among the top cable networks in total day, Fox News and CNN were the big gainers. Also in positive territory were TV Land, ID, Nickelodeon, BET and Freeform. The bottom three networks all belonged to Turner: Adult Swim, TNT and TBS.

(Photo via Pictures of Money's FlickrImage taken on Sept. 17, 2015 and used per Creative Commons 2.0 license. The photo was cropped to fit 9x16 aspect ratio.)