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Analyst: C3 Ratings Drop Shrinks in May

TV viewership registered only a small drop in May, which analyst Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson Research says might mark a turning point in the C3 ratings used to buy and sell advertising.

In primetime, C3 viewership in the 18-to-49-year-old demo was down 5%, and cable was flat, leaving total viewership down 1%. For total day, both broadcast and cable were off 4%.

Nathanson says May marks an improvement over April, and he believes the improvement was caused by Nielsen’s expanded sample, which should continue to help for the remainder of the calendar year.

Among the broadcasters, Fox was up 2% thanks to the scheduling of Empire and ABC was down 12%.

In cable, independent networks including Hallmark Channel, GSN and Univision Deportes showed the biggest gains in primetime. Time Warner’s networks were up 6%, thanks to election coverage on CNN. Disney was down 20%.

Among the top 25 cable networks, Viacom’s Nick at Nite and Nickelodeon had the biggest increases in total day among 18 to 49 year olds. ESPN and USA were down the most.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.