The Strength Of Broadcast TV — And Why Netflix is Catching Up

As the prime-time broadcast TV season winds down, we are starting to see headlines about which network is going end up in first place. But does it really matter which network “wins,” when none of them can muster even a 2.0 average rating among adults 18-49 or 25-54, and less than half a rating point separates first and fourth place?

Of the top 30 rated original scripted prime-time series among adults 18-49, nine are on ABC, nine are on CBS, eight are on NBC, and four are on FOX. So which network has a razor-thin average rating lead is not particularly relevant to advertisers or to viewers.

Despite audience declines, however, broadcast network ratings are still significantly higher than ad-supported cable ratings — not in total, but by network and by program. Except for ESPN, no ad-supported cable network averages even half a rating point among adults 18-49 or 25-54 in prime time. I

If you look at original scripted series season-to-date, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” is still the highest-rated series on television. But then you go through 45 broadcast series before you get to the next highest rated ad-supported cable series, FX’s “American Horror Story.” Then there are a dozen more broadcast series before you get to the third highest rated cable series, AMC’s “Fear the Walking Dead.” So, 48 of the top 50, and 57 of the top 60 original scripted series on ad-supported television are on one of the Big Four broadcast networks.

Another positive sign for the broadcast networks is that half of the top 10 rated original scripted series among adults 18-49 debuted over the past two seasons:“This is Us,” “Young Sheldon,” “The Good Doctor,” “Will & Grace,” and “911.” There is no question that the broadcast networks are still the best platforms for creating widely viewed hit series.

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Originally posted by at MediaPost
20th March 2018

See also asiCast 71 – Broadcasters, platforms and SVOD: a new relationship