While viewing levels have declined as viewers, especially younger ones, spend more time streaming, the broadcast networks remain the No. 1 buy for big-spending national TV advertisers. “The viewership gap between broadcast and everything else is still holding up,” says Zenith Media’s Nick Hartofilis. And many viewers are watching broadcast shows on DVRs and on proliferating digital platforms. The networks challenge is to measure and fully monetize such non-broadcast audiences.
Just a little more than one week into the new season, ABC is taking credit for delivering the best upscale viewers — provided you don’t account for big network primetime sports programming. ABC says it easily dominates over its three main rivals — when looking at non-sports primetime programming for the first week of the season. ABC earned a 2.8 average 18-49 rating among those making $100,000 a year or more and a 2.9 for those making $150,000.