US Cable TV Plays On Robust Viewing Figures

22 December 2005

US cable TV may attract more viewers than its network rivals, but advertising dollars have been slower to follow.

Latest figures from Nielsen Media Research, interpreted by cable program provider Turner Broadcasting System, show TV viewing is up around 10% from five years ago. However, while cable has 55% of national audience share, it accounts for only 31% of total primetime adspend.

Turner's TNT channel lays claim to the cable crown in 2005 for viewers aged 18 to 49, averaging almost 1.2 million in prime-time, thanks to several successful drama series.

But WWE wrestling, from NBC Universal's USA network has also challenged for the top spot, while Turner reported a good year for late-night adult programming on its Cartoon Network.

In the kids' category, Viacom's Nickelodeon increased its already-formidable lead position this year. It finished in first place for children aged two-11 with 1.2 million viewers, ahead of Cartoon Network and Disney.

Several smaller cable channels ended the year with significant viewing gains: MTV2 will be up 48% among the 18-34 age group, while National Geographic will achieve a rise of around 60% among the 18-49 and 25-54 groups.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff