Advanced Television

Election and Olympics drive US cable ratings

August 17, 2016

By Chris Forrester

America’s presidential election coverage helped Fox News maintain its leadership in US cable TV’s primetime ratings, with an average of 1.7 million viewers last week (according to Nielsen). Fox News, with its coverage of the National Conventions has enjoyed a solid summer of ratings.

Cable TV’s second spot went to Disney which averaged 1.3 million in primetime.

Olympic coverage helped NBC’s Sport News (NBCSN) to 3rd spot with an average 1.2 million viewers. USA Network, TBS and HDTV shared the 4th spot.

But a major faller was CNN, tumbling to the No 16 position with just 723,000 viewers. Turner Broadcasting’s Adult Swim was in 10th spot with an average 897,000 viewers.

ESPN, despite gaining the ‘most watched’ single show (August 13th and its NFL Pre-season football show) and 3.2 million viewers, could only manage an average for the week of 1 million.

As far as the mainstream networks are concerned the Olympics are not proving the guaranteed draw that was expected of them. NBC’s exclusive overage of the Games are extremely sluggish, gathering around 28 million viewers a night, and about 15 per cent down on the 2012 London event. Many of the ‘lost’ viewers come from the 18-34 age demographic, and this segment is down 30 per cent on the London numbers.

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