What’s growing in the era of cord cutting: Broadcast
Yes, really, though the median cable network lost 2.3 percent of its subscribers
March 1, 2017
In the era of cord cutting, will people pull out the rabbit ears and migrate back to broadcast TV, which has been seeing viewers flee to cable for more than a decade?
Well, stranger things have happened. And at a time when cable networks’ penetration is dropping, broadcast is seeing a corresponding boost.
That has not, as of yet, led to a rebound for broadcast ratings. But it’s an interesting trend to note as media researchers try to make sense of the numbers in these changing times.
The most recent round of Nielsen cable network universe estimates, released Monday, show that the median cable network lost 2.3 percent of its subscribers, a rate very slightly higher than the previous two months though not a record high.
Pivotal Research Group senior research analyst Brian Wieser also noted that the broadcast universe grew about 1.7 percent compared to the previous year.
He says broadcast networks’ penetration increases as the number of households rise, because any TV can pick up broadcast channels. So even if those new TV households don’t get cable, they can watch broadcast.
“This growth in penetration provides support to viewing levels at those [broadcast] networks, at least to the extent that viewing arrives at there by default when broadcast-only homes choose to watch linear TV,” he says.
Essentially, they have no other choice than to view broadcast if they want to watch TV.
Ratings remain on downward trend
As of now, there’s no indication that more access to broadcast is bringing viewers back to the medium.
Ratings have been falling for years, reflecting the plethora of entertainment choices people now have, ranging from social media to game consoles to digital video.
But broadcast still has one major advantage over cable, and that’s its price. Save for a minor one-time investment in an antenna, broadcast is free.
ESPN and ESPN2 continued to drop, both by 3.6 percent.
There were a handful of networks that actually gained subscribers – 17 of 117 measured by Nielsen.
The top increases included AMC’s Sundance, up 10.5 percent, and Fox’s FXX, up 7.5 percent.
After nearly 18 years, it’s time to say good-bye
Yet more evidence native advertising doesn’t work
A new type of cord-cutting: Snipping broadband
Coming, the collapse of radio’s iHeartMedia
Weeklies: Surviving if not thriving in digital age
Tweeter in chief: How Trump could save Twitter
Shows Trump hates are seeing big ad gains
Broadcast vs. cable: How the top shows stack up
A sign that coughs at your cigarette smoke
The word: Time Inc. sale is imminent
Rundown: Which advertisers have jumped from YouTube
Media Life’s Digital Media Transparency Initiative
HBO does hard time with Dwayne Johnson
- Arun Kumar becomes chief data and marketing tech officer at IPG
- Jenny Campbell rises to managing director at 72andSunny
- Adam Crandall becomes director of strategy at mono
- Mark Wildman rises to EVP of partnerships at Westwood One
- Kevin Craig rises to SVP of newspaper relations at AMG/Parade
- Bill Corvalan becomes VP of West Coast partnerships at AllOver Media
- Richard Just becomes editor at The Washington Post Magazine
- Gemma Lawson rises to VP and design director at Nickelodeon
- Ashley Judd joins Epix' 'Berlin Station'
- Former NBC ad sales executive Robert Blackmore dies at age 90
This week’s broadcast ratings
This week’s cable ratings
This week’s top-rated movies, songs and books
This week’s daypart ratings
This month’s digital traffic data: December 2016
Ad sales rep for a digital-only magazine
Freelance media planner/buyer available for all markets
Wanted: Media buyer in Philadelphia
Paid social media planner wanted in Detroit
Opening for a media planner at a top OOH agency