Networks Fumble Football C3 Rating Gain in November

Despite rebounding viewership for NFL football, the C3 ratings used to buy and sell network TV advertising fell by double digits in November, according to an analysis of Nielsen data by Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson Research.

In primetime, C3 viewership was down 12%, with broadcast down 13% and cable off 12%. For total day, C3 viewership was down 11%, with broadcast down 10% and cable down 12%, according to Nathanson.

Nielsen and the networks do not release C3 ratings data.

The gains came despite improved ratings for NFL football. Season to date, NBC’s Sunday Night Football is up 2%, Fox’s Thursday Night Football is up 1%, Monday Night Football on ESPN is up 8% and the Sunday games on Fox and CBS are up 2%.

“Given the success of the NFL, it is safe to assume that the non-NFL ratings on the NFL’s TV partners are down substantially,” Nathanson noted.

Even including football, in primetime, NBC down down 9% and Fox was down 18% in November compared to a year ago. CBS dropped 11% and ABC declined 19%

Monday Night Football having its best season since 2015, gave Disney’s cable networks a boost. They were up 4% during prime time in November. All of the other cable groups were down double digits. Discovery was down 10%, Fox dropped 11%, NBCU lost 14%, Viacom fell 15%, WarnerMedia slid 15% A+E declined 16% and AMC plummeted 18%.

Viacom’s MTV and Viacom’s Food Network were the only top 25 cable networks to show gains in the month. Kids networks Adult Swim, Cartoon and Nickelodeon had the biggest declines, followed by TNT, Nick at Nite and History.

Jon Lafayette

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.