Press Releases

Broadcast’s Time-Shifted Audience Outnumbers Cable’s Top Hits

– In First Week of New Season, Time-Shifted Portion of Broadcast TV Audience Rivals Total Viewers of Cable TV’s Top Shows –

NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- TVB (, the not-for-profit trade association of America’s commercial broadcast television industry today released an analysis of television ratings for the first week of the 2012/13 broadcast season including findings which show that the time-shifted portion of broadcast television’s same-day Top 20 fall premieres outpaced the total audience (live + same day) of the majority of cable television’s highest-rated original summer programming.

For the last several years, cable television has attracted its peak audiences during the summer programming season as broadcast networks traditionally program reruns during this period. However, Nielsen data, as analyzed by the TVB, indicates that this trend changed in the summer 2012 season. Advertising supported cable television posted year-over-year decreases in the Primetime daypart across Households, Persons 2+ and Adults 25-54 in both the summer and regular season of 2011/12. On a Household basis, decreases were more significant during the regular season (-4%) than in the summer (-2.6%), which demonstrated that the Summer Olympics on broadcast television was not the only factor in the recorded declines.

Additional findings of the TVB’s analysis include:

  • Cable’s summer premiere season yielded mixed results with all major programmers showing declines among their returning series (ranging from a decline of 1% on A&E and AMC to a decline of 23% on USA ) and only a few networks introduced new programming that was as strong as the performance of their returning series (AMC: 102 Index; History:129 Index; TBS:123 Index).
  • Within summer cable’s 2012 original season, broadcast television commanded 94% of all A25-54 GRPs among the Top 100 telecasts. The broadcast dominance was not an outcome related to the ratings strength of the July/August Summer Olympics broadcast television programming as the percentage of GRPs rose to 96% when all sports programming was excluded from the rankings.
  • In a comparison of the Top 50 summer cable originals versus summer repeats on broadcast television, repeat programming on broadcast television occupied the majority of the Top 100 ranked programs of the summer, whereas original programming on cable dominated the bottom half of the Top 200.
  • Among all telecasts this summer, cable originals landed one position in the Top 100 and 32 positions in the Top 500. The 50th ranked cable original series placed 614th among all telecasts in the summer season.

Stacey Lynn Schulman, SVP, Chief Research Officer of the TVB, commented, “Analysis of Nielsen data clearly highlights that despite cable television’s concerted efforts to not let facts get in the way of a good story, broadcast television viewership continues to dominate the summer season. Cable networks have moved swiftly over the last several years to introduce high-profile original series during the summer at a time when broadcast television networks are primarily offering repeat programming. However, the audience for broadcast television in the summer season continues to significantly dwarf the audience for cable television’s first run programming which includes a number of critically acclaimed series. Even more illustrative of the disparity in number of viewers delivered by both platforms, the time shifted viewing audience alone for broadcast television’s first week of programming for the 2012/13 season outpaced the total live viewing audience for cable television’s summer programming in most cases.”

Steve Lanzano, President and CEO of the TVB concluded, “Understanding where viewership happens is a critical consideration toward determining the success or failure of an overall marketing plan and that viewership is definitively and materially biased toward broadcast television.”

More information regarding the analysis and a list of sources used in the study is available at:

About TVB

TVB is the not-for-profit trade association of America’s commercial broadcast television industry. Its members include television broadcast groups, advertising sales reps, syndicators, international broadcasters, associate members and over 500 individual television stations. TVB actively promotes local media marketing solutions to the advertising community, and in so doing works to develop advertising dollars for the medium’s multiple platforms, including on-air, website and mobile. TVB provides a diverse variety of tools and resources, including this website, to support its members and to help advertisers make the best use of local ad dollars.

Abby Auerbach, 212-891-2279
Chief Marketing Officer
Joseph Jaffoni, Jennifer Neuman

Source: TVB