SBD/October 4, 2013/Media

Fox, NFL Net See Solid Gains In Ratings, Viewers Through First Four NFL Weeks

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Fox and NFL Network are beginning the NFL season with fast starts through Week 4, while ESPN and CBS are relatively flat and NBC is seeing declines over the same period from last year. NFL games since Labor Day rank as the nine most-viewed shows on all of TV and are the only programs -- along with the season premieres of CBS’ “The Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS” -- to draw at least 20.0 million viewers. Fox is averaging a 12.7 rating and 21.4 million viewers, up 10.4% and 13.2%, respectively, from an 11.5 rating and 18.9 million viewers from '12. The net's national broadcasts are off to their best start, as the two games (Packers-49ers in Week 1 and Eagles-Broncos in Week 4) have averaged a 16.3 with 27.7 million viewers. That is up 12% and 14% respectively, from '12 and tops the previous highs from '10 in both categories (15.2, 25.6 million viewers). Meanwhile, NFL Network has averaged a 5.5 rating and 8.6 million viewers for its first three “Thursday Night Football” telecasts (not including Thursday's Bills-Browns game). That is up 8% and 9%, respectively, from the same point last year and puts the net on pace to have its most-watched season yet. The increase was fueled by a 6.0 rating and 9.4 million viewers for the Sept. 19 Chiefs-Eagles game, which saw Andy Reid return to Philadelphia after coaching the Eagles for 14 years. That stands as the highest-rated game telecast ever on the league-owned net and fourth-best game viewership.

HOLDING THEIR OWN
: ESPN’s “MNF” is averaging an 8.8 rating and 14.0 million viewers after five games. While that rating is down 2% from the same point last season, viewership is flat. “MNF,” however, continues to be the most-watched program on cable TV. CBS' viewership through four weeks is at 17 million, up 1% from last season's 16.8 million. This ends CBS' two-year run of declining viewership through the first four weeks of the season. The net's average rating is 10.4, up 2% from a 10.2 in '12.

SOME WORK TO DO: NBC is averaging a 13.5 rating and 22.6 million viewers for its five broadcasts through Week 4, down 5% and 3%, respectively, from a 14.2 rating and 23.3 million viewers through the same point last season. The 22.6 million viewers is the lowest mark for NBC through four weeks since the ’09 season. Despite the drop, “SNF” continues to be the highest-rated show on primetime TV across all broadcast and cable networks.

NFL GAME VIEWERSHIP THROUGH WEEK 4
NET
'13 (000)
'12 (000)
'11 (000)
'10 (000)
'09 (000)
'08 (000)
NBC*
22,584
23,320
23,168
22,853
20,756
17,814
Fox
21,400
18,900
20,500
19,677
17,916
15,192
CBS
17,018
16,800
17,500
18,699
15,671
15,221
ESPN
13,987
13,969
13,087
14,786
15,684
12,972
NFLN
8,573
7,895
n/a
n/a
n/a
n/a
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