Surprising revelations from the February sweep
Fox wins with a huge boost from the Super Bowl but did poorly otherwise
March 6, 2017
As expected, Fox won the February sweep among adults 18-49, and by a wide margin, nearly matching the other Big Four networks combined, thanks to the Super Bowl.
Still, while Fox’s win was predictable, there were a number of less predictable developments this month that media buyers and planners should be paying attention to.
Here’s a rundown on the surprises that emerged during the four-week sweep period, which is used to set advertising rates for local stations.
1. Fox’s ratings were otherwise dismal
Fox’s Super Bowl-fueled win balanced out a rough month for the network, which suffered sharp year-to-year declines for a number of shows and continued to struggle across most weeknights.
Take out the Super Bowl and Fox finished just a tenth ahead of Univision among 18-49s. That means the network’s rebuilding efforts post-“American Idol” are far from done.
2. ABC beats CBS and NBC
ABC is in fourth place for the season, but with the Oscars and nine of the month’s top entertainment series, the network finished ahead of two of its rivals, including CBS with the Grammys.
3. Univision rebounds
Univision grew compared to the November sweeps, finishing first among all the major demos compared to its Spanish-language competition.
That’s important, since the network had been losing ground to Telemundo for months until a recent turnaround. It’s introduced some new novelas and other programs in that time.
4. ‘Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ wins in late night
CBS’s “The Late Show” hadn’t won a February sweep since 2010, when the Jay Leno-Conan O’Brien drama was still playing out on NBC. Colbert had never won a sweep period.
But riding the momentum that’s been building since Donald Trump’s inauguration, Colbert finished first in total viewers, 5 percent ahead of longtime leader “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and up 18 percent from last year. (Fallon still won in 18-49s, though.)
5. Reality shows still have it
“The Voice” and “The Bachelor” were among the top programs during the sweep. While “Idol” may be gone, the competition genre clearly isn’t.
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This week’s broadcast ratings
This week’s cable ratings
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This week’s daypart ratings
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