Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Top Cable Channels Of 2006

Thanks to the increasing number of choices in digital cable, DVRs and probably DVD and video games, most ad-supported cable channels saw their audience decline this year. The top 10 for 2006 per MediaWeek:

1. USA -- 2.63 million viewers average in primetime
2. TNT -- 2.38 million viewers
3. ESPN -- 2.19 million viewers
4. TBS -- 1.64 million viewers
5. Lifetime -- 1.54 million viewers
6. Cartoon Network -- 1.49 million viewers
7. Nick-At-Nite -- 1.49 million viewers
8. Fox News Channel -- 1.41 million viewers
9. fX -- 1.26 million viewers
10. Spike TV -- 1.24 million viewers

fX was the ONLY change to grow, gaining 8% in viewers, thanks to hits like "The Shield" and "nip/tuck." Nick-At-Nite dropped the most (21%) followed closely by Fox News Channel, which dropped by 20%. Before you Keith Olbermann fans start crowing too loudly. keep it in perspective: Fox had nine of the top 10 shows ("Larry King Live" being the lone exception), with Bill O'Reilly on top again. Olbermann was the top show on MSNBC, tying Headline News's Nancy Grace with 427,000 viewers. In the key 25-54 demo, the ranking was:

1. Fox News Channel -- 341,000 (down a massive 26%)
2. CNN -- 224.000 (down 17%)
3. MSNBC -- 157,000 (up 7%)
4. CNN Headline News -- 123,000 (down 4%)
5. CNBC -- 78,000 (up 16%)


Anonymous said...

I'd attribute Nick @ Nite's drop not only to the current crop of "nostalgia" shows they're airing, but to the fact the "nostalgia" is becoming harder and harder to define. Durung the 80s and early 90s, you still had a nation of couch potatoes who all watched the same shows growing up, knew the same taglines, the same theme songs, we could act out whole scenes of our favorite episodes of our favorite series, etc. But since the eary nineties, television options have become SO diverse and wide that you can't find enough people to feel warm and fuzzy about any one show to warrant a revival. Plus, add to the fact that there's enough good television out there now that many people don't have the time or feel a need to revisit old shows they used to think were great (and, perhaps in retrospect, find out they were wrong), and the still-robust TV-on-DVD market, where people who truly care about The brady Bunch or Leave it To Beaver or Dick van Dyke or whatver can get entire seasons uncut and uninterrupted, and we see that Nick @ Nite, the cannibalization of TV, is becoming the prey for the next generation of cannibals

Michael in New York said...

Lots of good points, anonymous. Especially the fact that people don'tr have to go to Nick-at-Nite to see old classics like Lucy and The Andy Griffith Show. They cna just buy the entire series on DVD. And that dynamic cuts out your wealthiest, most earnest fans, so it's a hard hit. Nick-At-Nite can't expect to keep getting newer either -- there's been a drought of family sitcoms for a good decade now. Will they ever get Raymond and will it seem special after years of being on local channels? No. Nick-at-Nite seemed very different when it began since The Donna Reed Show and Leave It To Beaver had disappeared for the most part. That will never happen again.

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