The commercial ratings used to determine advertising sales declined in October as the new TV season started.
According to an analysis of Nielsen data by analyst Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson Research, C3 broadcast ratings were down 12% among adults 18 to 49 in primetime. For cable networks, ratings were down 10%.
Among the broadcasters, CBS had the smallest decline, down 1%. NBC was down 9%, ABC fell 18% and Fox dropped 21%. Fox’s programming included the World Series. While the Houston Astros victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers drew strong ratings, they were not as good as the historic Chicago Cubs-Cleveland Indians championship a year ago.
Cable networks owned by Disney showed a 2% increase in October. Time Warner, Viacom and Discovery had single digit declines. The biggest drop was registered by AMC Networks, whose hit show The Walking Dead was down sharply from a year ago.
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Looking at the top 25 most-viewed cable networks in total day among 18 to 49 year olds, the biggest gainer was Viacom’s TVLand. Also showing increases were Time Warner’s TNT, Disney’s ESPN, 21st Century Fox’s Fox News and Crown Media’s Hallmark Channel.
The biggest declines were racked up by Viacom’s Nick at Nite, AMC’s AMC and Time Warner’s Adult Swim.
“Given the challenged ratings trends we have seen and expect to continue, we remain cautious on the TV advertising market’s ability to grow dollars by offsetting these declines with higher CPM inflation,” said Nathanson.