SBD/December 8, 2011/Research and Ratings

ESPN Distribution Down Slightly From Start Of '11; NBA TV Starts Season In 55.3M Homes

ESPN is in 99 million U.S. homes in December, down slightly from the start of the year, when the net was in 99.8 million homes. ESPN had a six-month run from February-July when it was in more than 100 million homes, but it did not reach that mark again. The net's low point for the year was 98.6 million homes in October. ESPN2 will finish the year in 98.9 million homes, down from 99.7 million in January. The net also had three months during '11 where distribution was over the 100-million mark. The Weather Channel is the only cable net ending '11 in more than 100 million homes. MLB Network saw the most distribution growth among any cable net this year, while Fox Soccer also saw strong gains. As the NBA season gets set to begin later this month, NBA TV is in 55.3 million homes, up 2.4% from the same period last year. Meanwhile, Fuel TV passed ESPN Classic for the first time since the net became rated in April. Listed below are the top 10 cable networks in terms of U.S. household distribution, along with figures for sports nets.

 

CABLE NETWORK DISTRIBUTION IN THE U.S. FOR DECEMBER
NETWORK
'06 (000)
'07 (000)
'08 (000)
'09 (000)
'10 (000)
'11 (000)
The Weather Channel
91,791
96,463
98,691
99,787
100,588
100,024
TBS
91,528
97,201
98,905
100,146
101,002
99,928
Discovery Channel
92,358
96,696
98,594
99,837
100,517
99,654
Food Network
90,891
95,547
97,817
99,243
100,193
99,592
Nick-At-Nite
91,799
96,331
98,343
99,590
100,353
99,502
Nickelodeon
91,799
96,331
98,343
99,590
100,353
99,502
USA
91,930
96,227
98,268
99,174
100,016
99,361
CNN
92,046
96,403
98,279
99,299
100,108
99,179
TNT
91,969
96,272
98,018
99,143
100,445
99,131
A&E
91,553
96,070
97,834
98,919
99,802
99,108
ESPN
92,216
96,385
98,006
99,065
99,844
99,032
ESPN2
91,646
96,043
97,585
98,770
99,723
98,938
FX
89,995
94,428
95,141
95,845
95,854
98,039
Golf Channel
73,915
75,776
81,566
81,786
83,189
84,013
Speed
69,062
72,447
73,107
74,667
77,236
78,675
Versus
71,041
73,223
74,128
63,379
75,187
75,740
ESPNews
53,515
62,614
67,750
70,818
73,449
73,880
ESPNU
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
72,508
72,427
MLB Network
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
55,274
67,346
NFL Network
38,875
43,094
41,736
54,722
56,875
57,586
NBA TV
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
54,021
55,293
Fox Soccer
n/a
n/a
34,527
35,532
38,419
40,557
Fuel TV
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
36,414
ESPN Classic
63,463
63,166
63,259
60,580
39,727
32,455
 

NOTES: Distribution not listed for nets that do not subscribe to daily Nielsen Co. ratings. Among those nets not listed are NHL Network, Universal Sports, CBS Sports Network, Tennis Channel, Fox College Sports and the Big Ten Network.

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