Cable Programming's High Ratings Driving Current Television Season's Audience Growth

- Over 1,800 Original Programs a Week Boosts Cable to Win Every Night of the Week -

- Cable Ratings Grew Among Advertising’s Most Important Demographic Groups -

New York, NY – February 2, 2009 – The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau (CAB) released its analysis of season-to-date Nielsen national television audience data revealing record-high primetime audience ratings for ad-supported Cable programming in the first eighteen weeks of the current television season.

In addition to fueling year-over-year growth of the total TV audience, ad-supported Cable substantially widened its average nightly total ratings advantage over Broadcast primetime programming.

The CAB’s ratings analysis, which is an on-going core element in their presentations to US advertisers and media agencies, details several historical peaks in ad-supported Cable’s primeime leadership including:

  • Ad-Supported Cable’s average nightly total ratings edge of 10.9 rating points better than Broadcast for the current season actually extends the duration of Cable’s 10-ratings-points-or-better nightly advantage over Broadcast TV to a period spanning the last 65 weeks (see following chart):

Viewed in the context of the previous TV season, which included an early season WGA strike, it is clear that

while ad-supported Cable’s nightly ratings gains were accelerated during the strike period, the widened gap

advantage vs. broadcast has remained constant over the eleven months that followed the strike.

  • Cable’s rating’s growth in the current season covers the gamut of advertiser’s highly desired target audiences, including the major trading demographic groups of 18-to-49 and 25-to-54 years old adults (see below chart):

  • While the current TV season’s ratings for ad-supported Cable grew every night of the week, the most substantial shifts of audience from the seven Broadcast networks to ad-supported Cable networks occurred on the retail-critical nights of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday (see following chart):

    On a total-day basis the audience gains for ad-supported Cable more than offset the losses of Broadcast as

    total TVusage figures (HUTS, etc.) rose in first eighteen weeks of the current TV season versus the same

    period during the previous TV season.

  • The number of original programs that aired on ad-supported Cable in any given week of 4Q 2008 was also at an all-time high of 1,837 original Cable programs, which now accounts for two-thirds of all ad-supported Cable programming (see 2 following charts):

Commenting on the findings in this most recent TV audience analysis, CAB President and CEO Sean Cunningham said: “The pace of viewer’s flight to Cable has surged dramatically over the past year. Advertiser’s in search of the right kind of value to achieve their goals in a tough environment will ever-increasingly depend on their own flight to more Cable brands and programming.”

About the CAB

Founded in 1980, the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau ( is a television advertising advocacy group dedicated to providing advertisers and their agencies with the most current, complete and actionable media insights at the national, DMA and local levels.

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CAB Media Contact

Sean Cunningham -- 212-508-1223/914-420-9323 mobile

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