C3 Ratings Better, But Still Down for August

Late college football and moving Shark Week take bites out of viewership
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The C3 ratings for broadcast and cable networks were down again in August, but the declines were smaller than in previous months.

According to an analysis by Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson Research, primetime viewership was down 8% among 18-49 year olds using C3 commercial ratings, the metric used for buying and selling ad time. Broadcast viewing was down 9% and cable viewing was down 7%.

“We are finally starting to see ratings improvement at some of the media companies we cover,” Nathanson said in his report. “Unfortunately in aggregate, with full August C3 ratings now available, overall viewership remains down in the high-single digit range, a troubling sign of what’s to come. Heading into September, we will continue to closely monitor the situation to see whether trends improve."

Nathanson found that all of the broadcasters were down in August, partly because of a later start to the college football season and lower ratings for the PGA Championship, which aired on CBS.

On cable, the launch of Fear the Walking Dead made AMC Networks the only media company to post a ratings gain in primetime for August.

Discovery was down 20% in August in part because it moved Shark Week from August to July, and 21st Century Fox was suffered from comparisons to its Simpson’s marathon a year ago.

Among networks, only AMC, Cartoon Network, Investigation Discovery, HGTV and Adult Swim posted gains in total day viewership among adults 25 to 54.

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