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US networks losing viewers fast

Despite TV viewing being at an all-time high it seems audiences are not watching the major networks. The Nielsen ratings that the industry depends upon are also coming in for criticism for not adequately measuring the ‘new viewing’ on tablets, computers and other screens in and out of the home.

Nielsen’s numbers show that this winter season’s viewing, and measured for live and “same day” viewing, shows that average primetime TV watching on ABC, CBS and Fox has fallen by more than 10 per cent (18-49 year-olds), according to analysis by bankers UBS. Only Comcast-owned NBC can hold its head up on a season by season basis, with its numbers up 22 per cent, and admittedly helped by last year having seen its numbers suffer badly from poor programming.

Last week, and quoted by the London Financial Times, CBS head Les Moonves, told an investment conference that people are watching more TV than ever before but are increasingly time-shifting.

Nielsen said it is happy to extend its brief but the industry needed to adopt the new metrics available, and – by implication – pay for new measurement services.

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