Summer Sun Brings Falling HUT Levels

Syndication experienced a loss of 2.5 million households from a year ago for the week ended June 11. That has prompted questions about whether the 14% drop came from the emerging popularity of cellphones, iPods and the Web now that younger viewers are starting summer vacations and watching shows on other viewing platforms.

In combination with French Open tennis, the World Cup soccer series and breaking news during the week, total HUT (homes using television) levels also decreased by an average of 3 million viewers from the previous week.

Ratings typically fall from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.—when most syndicated shows air—during longer daylight hours, warm late-spring weather and summer vacations.

The week also brought the weekday sporting events and news about the death of Iraqi terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. But researchers are expected to keep a close eye on viewing levels in the coming weeks.