A Midterm Report: Primetime National Television ‘07/’08


-- Cable’s Record High Ratings Counteract Broadcast’s Record Low Ratings --  
-- Total TV Viewing Grew Despite WGA Strike –

New York, NY – April 17, 2008 – The Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau has released a mid-term report on the current year’s Nielsen primetime national television ratings. The 26 weeks of data analyzed represent the midway point in the television year and captures audience trends before, during and after the Writer’s Guild of America (WGA) strike. 

Findings show that the half-year ratings advantage to advertising supported Cable over Broadcast began prior to the 14-week WGA work stoppage, accelerated dramatically during the strike and continued to hit record highs in the last six weeks of the television season’s first half. Importantly, this pattern of record growth in advertising supported Cable ratings versus the same time period a year ago was consistent across nearly every Nielsen reported demographic group.

Analysis of mid-year data that captures adults aged 18-to-49 ratings performance reveals a record gap between Cable and Broadcast ratings performance for this critical television buying target.


At the close of the current television’s first half, the ratings pattern of record gaps between advertising supported Cable’s record highs and broadcast’s record lows was consistent among the most-used demographic major trading demographics: for adults 18-49 a 3% larger audience versus Broadcast in the first half of the previous year grew to a record 23% larger audience for advertising supported Cable versus Broadcast for the first half of the current television year, among adults 18-34, a 14% audience advantage to Cable grew to a record 43% advantage, among adults 18-24, a 39% advantage grew to a record 76% audience advantage of ad supported cable television. Among adults 25-54 a -4% audience disadvantage for Cable versus Broadcast became a record 12% advantage for ad-supported Cable by the close of the first half of the current television year.

The net result of total audience growth in primetime television during the first half of the current season is noteworthy because many industry pundits had predicted that the WGA strike would cause losses in television audience and more viewer trial and traffic for alternate video sources such as Internet Video, etc.

“The midterm data clearly demonstrates that cable programming drove the health of the overall television audience during the first half of this year – and that the record-high viewing of Cable shows no signs of slowing,” said Sean Cunningham, President and CEO of the CAB. “Moreover, as we move into the ’08 upfront season, the primacy of cable brands and programming, plus their branded extensions offer advertisers more selling power than ever before.”

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