Disney Channel: We’re The Ratings Leader

Disney Channel is laying claim to being No. 1 in primetime in all of cable this year, with record-shattering viewership. 

The network, which doesn’t carry commercials, is averaging 2,702,000 viewers to date in primetime this year, up 6% from last year, according to a Disney ABC Television Group analysis of Nielsen Media Research data released Thursday.

That’s a hair ahead of ad-supported USA Network, which is averaging 2,667,000 viewers, a 2% gain from 2006.

Disney Channel has averaged a 2.2 household rating, even with last year, while USA is off 5% to a 2.1 from a 2.2.

On Wednesday, Turner Research reported that USA was No. 1 in primetime for cable this year, but if non ad-supported networks are added to the mix then Disney Channel is tops. In any event, Disney Channel’s primetime viewership is an all-time record for cable overall, both for ad-supported and non ad-supported services. 

According to USA officials, the networks are running neck and neck and USA could overtake Disney Channel by year-end. Either way, the officials said they are pleased with USA’s strong year-to-date performance among key demographic groups.

USA and Disney were knotted atop cable ratings last year, both with a 2.2 household rating. USA won the actual household battle with 1,983,000 million homes, compared to 1, 926,000 for Disney Channel, according to Nielsen data.