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US Cable Channels Lead in Viewer Retention During Ad Breaks

News, 25 October 2007

NEW YORK: Nielsen Media Research's first-round data on the so-called C3 ratings (the viewing of TV commercials either during transmission or via a PVR in the same three-day period) shows cable channels significantly ahead.

Not a single broadcast channel made it into the top seventeen rankings, Fox News being the highest-rated of the networks in eighteenth place with a 92.9% viewer retention score.

And sharing joint 22nd place came NBC, ABC, and CBS, all with 92.7%.

King of the channels is cable station ESPN2, which topped the rankings with a 104% average program retention rate - which means that the number of viewers watching commercials actually increased over program content!

These are the top 25 rankings for the first week of the 2007 fall season (September 24-30):

  1. ESPN2, 04.0%
  2. ESPN, 97.7%
  3. NICK at Nite, 96.6%
  4. Adult Swim, 95.9%
  5. Nickelodeon, 95.8%
  6. Hallmark Channel, 95.7%
  7. TV Land, 95.6%
  8. USA Network, 95.5%
  9. Home and Garden TV, 95.0%
  10. Court TV, 94.6%
  11. The Cartoon Network, 94.5%
  12. Fox News Channel, 94.0%
  13. Lifetime Television, 93.7%
  14. BET, 93.6%
  15. Headline News, 93.6%
  16. TBS Network, 93.5%
  17. CNBC, 93.0%
  18. Fox, 92.9%
  19. Weather Channel, 92.9%
  20. NBC, 92.7%
  21. ABC, 92.7%
  22. CBS, 92.7%
  23. Comedy Central, 92.6%
  24. TNT, 92.6%
  25. Animal Planet, 92.4%
Notes Mediavest vp/group research director John Spiropoulos: "In prime, cable has a negative story, but once you broaden the perspective and look at other dayparts like weekend daytime, it's huge.

"The audience declines there are in line with broadcast, in the 5% range. People focus a little too much in prime-time hours."

Data sourced from and Hallmark Channel; additional content by WARC staff