Sports, news, competition shows and latenight programs now account for between half and three-quarters of the Big Four's gross ratings points, according to a new MoffettNathanson report. NBC, home of Sunday Night Football and The Voice, is most heavily reliant on live — for better or worse.
Report: Broadcast TV Viewing Mostly Live
For the past few years, the Big Four broadcast TV networks seem to have become increasingly reliant on sports and other live or near-live programming.
The securities research firm MoffettNathanson backs up that perception with a report today that shows that between half and three-quarters of the gross ratings points (people 18-49, C3) generated by the four during the 2015-16 season were generated by live programs.
“Big picture, the broadcast networks have steadily become the home of live sports, news and reality competition,” the report says. “In other words, programming (and advertising) that is best consumed live.”
In addition to sports, news and reality competition, the report includes latenight shows in its definition of live.
NBC, purveyor of Sunday Night Football and The Voice, produced a schedule with the greatest proportion of live GRPs at 74%, followed by Fox (70%), CBS (52%) and ABC (45%).
“From an advertiser’s perspective, sports and news programming is an attractive way to find efficient reach of time-sensitive messages like new movie openings, sales promotions and new product launches,” the report says.
“While we’d agree that going forward those with the most share of live programming are best positioned, NBC and Fox’s share is also indicative of the lack of success these two networks have had with their scripted programming,” the report adds.
Fox, the report shows, is heavily reliant on sports, which generates 57% of its GRPs.
The reports also underscores the weakness in sitcoms. “The shift in consumption and programming patterns has all but killed the 30-minute sitcom with only 6% of GRPs now coming from that genre.”
During the past season, the report also calculated, total day viewership (people 18-49, C3) for the combined Big Four was down 5%. Individually, ABC was down 11%, NBC was down 9% and Fox was down 6%. Thanks in part to the Super Bowl, CBS posted a 4% gain.
Overall, entertainment programming was down 7% for the Big Four, while sports was down just 2%.