2019’s Most Watched TV Networks

As 2019 draws to a close, most of the linear networks devoted to younger audiences continue to face double-digit year-over-year declines. Variety has obtained a ranker of how the linear broadcast, cable and pay TV networks performed in 2019. Here are some of the notable highs and lows of 2019.

SALES OFFICE BY STACEY LYNN SCHULMAN

Why Broadcast Still Wins With Viewers

What broadcast networks do particularly well is build nights of television with audience flow. This is why, despite the appearance of a few bright spots in cable television, viewers are not congregating and staying with cable content throughout a night in the same way they do with broadcast. There is content there, but collectively, it’s not much of a draw. It takes more than a handful of original shows to create a destination for viewers.

Over-The-Air TV Catches Second Wind

Largely relegated to obscurity decades ago, old-fashioned television broadcasts — over the airwaves and not via cable or satellite — are enjoying an unexpected revival in the digital era. With an increased array of online-video programming now drawing viewers’ attention, companies are starting to pitch consumers on complementing online video streamed from the Web with broadcast TV signals as a way to save money on cable subscriptions.

TVB COMMENTARY

Fit To Be Untied: Come Home To Free TV

In last week’s “Wall Street Journal”, Kevin Sintumuang wrote what was in effect a “Dear John” letter to cable TV. It’s a pretty bold statement to make, Kevin — so publicly ending a relationship like that. When you’re ready to get into a more lasting relationship, broadcast television will be there for you.

COMMENTARY BY GORDON SMITH

Broadcast TV Has Something For Everyone

As the debate rages in Washington over auctioning free and local broadcast television airwaves for fee-based wireless broadband applications, one of the questions being pondered is, “What’s the highest and best use of this valuable resource?” The answer is: “It depends whom you ask.”

Quick Cancellations Hurting Broadcast Nets?

Five new broadcast network shows have been canceled in the first seven weeks of the new TV season and some industry observers are wondering if the networks are pulling the plug too soon.

PTC: 69% Increase In Broadcast TV Profanity

The watchdog group says a comparison of the first two weeks of the 2010 fall season’s prime-time programming on the broadcast networks with a comparable period in 2005 shows a significant increase in both the number of instances of use of profanity, and the harshness of the profanity used.