Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cable vs. Network TV on 2010 Viewership

As viewers’ options of programming continue to increase, the competition to gain that viewer likewise increases.

While network television has historically been dominate in ratings compared to cable original programming, a small shift has begun to develop. According to an article in USA Today, the Nielsen Company stated that both network television and basic cable gained 1% in 2010, which brings the overall viewing to about 34 hours a week.

Broadcast television had a rough fall season with viewership declining on both FOX, which is down by 15%, and ABC, which is off by 5%. These decreases are equalized by small gains from both CBS and NBC.

Original cable programming like Rizzoli and Isles, The Walking Dead and the Jersey Shore has recently beaten out some of the broadcast TV rivals. While some of the bigger cable networks have lost viewership over 2010, some of the mid-tier channels grew by double digits. Most notably, Investigation Discovery grew 63% this year. Other channels showing growth were TV Land with 15% gain and History with a 34% increase.

As consumer’s options in programming increase, the competition to gain more viewers increases. Thus, more original cable programming is likely to go head-to-head with broadcast television.

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