Bet, Call or Raise? (10/11 Premiere Week Primetime Review)

The new Broadcast Seasons’ game originated this week as Ad-Supported Cable seized the center pot – capturing practically 60% of total television’s viewing share in Primetime. Ad-Supported Cable presented a strong hand, outperforming Broadcast by 14.9 share points – its largest spread to date. Year after year, the spread has widened – spreading the gap to almost three times the size v. four years ago.

With Ad-Supported Cable’s investment in its high-quality original programming, Cable continued to experience impressive gains with viewership up more than 600,000 homes v. same period a year ago. Conversely, Broadcast viewership continued to slide despite airing more premieres this season with viewership down 264,000 homes – lowest level to date during any premiere week. Broadcasts’ decline was primarily payable to ABC’s
(-1,071,000) and Fox (-355,000) weak performances this week.

Premiere Week’s HH Primetime Ratings

Source: CAB analysis of Nielsen Galaxy Live+SD. Primetime=M-Sa 8-11p & Su 7-11pm.

The game started off weak as Broadcasts’ viewership fell among Adults 18-49 v year ago. Both young men and women aged 18-24 fled premiere week while P35-49 decline was mainly due to a loss of females aged 35-49 (-8%). In contrast to Broadcast, Ad-Supported Cable experienced healthy gains across the board – especially among P2-11.

Premiere Week: Viewership (OOO) % Change

Source: CAB analysis of Nielsen Galaxy Live+SD (OOO). 9/20-9/26/10 v. 9/21-9/27/09. Primetime=M-Sa 8-11p & Su 7-11pm.

With the Broadcast nets showing most of their cards on the table - telecasting premieres, who is going to take home the big pot? It is too premature to tell which show will succeed and which will fold but the odds do not fare too well for Broadcast. With sixteen more premieres this season, the four nets are only averaging a 2.9 among advertiser’s most coveted target A18-49 – down 12% from last year. ABC (-13%) and Fox’s (-32%) premiere week’s ratings among A18-49 are down significantly from last year. In fact, the only network to experience a slight gain is NBC with fourteen premieres averaging a 2.3. High stakes - do you call or bet?

Primetime Premiere Averages By Network

Source: CAB analysis of Nielsen Galaxy Live+SD. 9/20-9/26/10 v. 9/21-9/27/09. Primetime=M-Sa 8-11p & Su 7-11pm.

With majority of Broadcasts’ Big 4 programming schedule being comprised of return programming – its safe to say viewers will continue to sample other programming options as most of the return programs have been underperforming last year’s levels. In fact, 65% of the return programs are down v. year ago with CBS and Fox leading the way.

Number of Broadcast Return Programs Down v. YAG: A18-49 AA%,Primetime

Source: CAB analysis of Nielsen Galaxy. 9/20-9/26/10 v. 9/21-9/27/09. Primetime=M-Sa 8-11p & Su 7-11pm. 

With little surprise, NBC’s Sunday Night Football – the networks royal flush – placed first with a 7.3 among A18-49. Fox’s Glee and ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy performed well, placing near the top. CBS populated eight out of the Top 20 spots. Only two new comers to the Top 20 list - CBS’s ‘$#*! MY DAD SAYS” and “MIKE & MOLLY” – which both placed toward the bottom of the list. In fact, 65% of the Top 20 earned below a 5.0 among advertisers’ most coveted target – A18-49.

Broadcasts’ Top 10 Primetime Programs: A18-49

Source: CAB analysis of Nielsen Galaxy Live+SD AA%. 9/20-9/26/10 v. 9/21-9/27/09. Primetime=M-Sa 8-11p & Su 7-11pm. 

As the game continues with players raising and calling their bets, one thing is for sure – Ad-Supported Cable will continue to shatter viewing records; setting the standard of achievement across the board. Place your bets!

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