SBD/October 4, 2011/Research and Ratings

ESPN Total-Day, Primetime Audience Down In Q3; Pats-Jets "MNF" Tops Cable TV Telecasts

ESPN averaged 950,000 total-day viewers and 1.925 million viewers in primetime during Q3, down 10.8% and 11.9%, respectively, from the same period last year. The net still finished ninth among all cable networks in total-day audience and fifth in primetime during the quarter. ESPN2 also saw a double-digit percentage drop in total-day and primetime audience in Q3. Among sports networks, MLB Network saw the biggest year-over-year percentage gain, up 42.3% in total-day and 31.3% in primetime. NFL Network also saw double-digit percentage gains in Q3. NBA TV's audience is traditionally lower during Q3 due to the league being in its offseason. ESPN’s Patriots-Dolphins opening “MNF” telecast was the most-viewed cable TV broadcast of Q3 with 14.568 million viewers. The net’s Japan-U.S. FIFA Women’s World Cup Final on July 17 ranked third with 13.458 million viewers. The Sept. 9 Notre Dame-Michigan game on ESPN was the top college football audience in Q3 with 7.541 million viewers. The July 31 Brickyard 400 on ESPN was the only NASCAR Sprint Cup Series telecast to rank among the top 100 most-viewed cable TV shows during Q3 (6.377 million viewers). Listed below are the top 10 cable TV nets in total-day and primetime viewership during Q3, with comparisons to ’10, along with how sports networks performed during that same period.

Q3 TOTAL-DAY VIEWERSHIP
NETWORK
'11 (000)
'10 (000)
% +/-
Nickelodeon
2,166
2,281
-5.0%
Disney Channel
1,884
1,967
-4.2%
USA
1,424
1,362
4.6%
Adult Swim
1,368
1,182
15.7%
Nick at Nite
1,233
1,573
-21.6%
Cartoon Network
1,204
1,152
4.5%
TNT
1,180
1,349
-12.5%
Fox News
1,081
1,022
5.8%
ESPN
950
1,065
-10.8%
History Channel
916
868
5.5%
FX
786
688
14.2%
ESPN2
315
351
-10.3%
NFL Network
160
133
20.3%
Speed
120
121
-0.8%
Golf Channel
86
75
14.7%
Versus
84
86
-2.3%
MLB Network
74
52
42.3%
ESPNews
66
68
-2.9%
Fox Soccer
26
22
18.2%
NBA TV
17
n/a
n/a
Fuel TV
11
n/a
n/a
 
Q3 PRIMETIME VIEWERSHIP
NETWORK
'11 (000)
'10 (000)
% +/-
USA
3,510
3,278
7.1%
Disney Channel
2,683
2,823
-5.0%
TNT
2,512
2,570
-2.3%
History Channel
2,070
1,741
18.9%
ESPN
1,925
2,186
-11.9%
Fox News
1,910
1,843
3.6%
A&E
1,640
1,515
8.3%
FX
1,453
1,275
14.0%
SyFy
1,449
1,297
11.7%
ABC Family
1,425
1,373
3.8%
ESPN2
578
672
-14.0%
NFL Network
276
222
24.3%
Speed
197
199
-1.0%
MLB Network
189
144
31.3%
Versus
175
164
6.7%
Golf Channel
126
116
8.6%
ESPNews
103
95
8.4%
Fox Soccer
37
34
8.8%
NBA TV
33
n/a
%
Fuel TV
14
n/a
%
       

NOTES: Period of measurement for Q3 in ’11 was from June 27 through Sept. 25. Last year, the period was measured from June 28 through Sept. 26. Primetime audience is defined as 8:00-11:00pm.

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