An analysis of trends associated with the use of television alongside commercial share trends for national media owners in the U.S. through the end of the calendar month of December 2016 (rather than the broadcast month, which ran from Nov. 28 to Dec. 25) — based on data including time-shifted viewing and commercial impression data released by Nielsen last week — concludes that C3 impressions have declined only slightly.
Brian Wieser, an analyst with Pivotal Research Group, took a close look at the data and came up with five notable observations for the month of December.
- Total use of television, as he defines it, across all sources of content inputs was flat (+0.4%) on a total-day basis for adults 18-49 during December, and up by a meager 0.8% among all households. But, viewing of English-language broadcast networks and ad-supported cable was down by 3.5% for adults 18-49, and down by 0.9% for households, both on a total day basis. Spanish-language broadcast networks continued to drop, to 3.2% of adults 18-49, down from 3.6% in December 2015 and 4% in December 2014. National TV commercial impressions delivered among adults 18-49 was also statistically flat, falling by 0.7% year-over-year on a total day basis, and by 0.4% on a prime time-only basis.
- Consumption via internet-connected devices, including Roku, Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast rose by 66% year-over-year, to account for 9.2% of total TV use among adults 18- 49 on a total day basis. This compares to 5.6% in December 2015, and 3.0% in December 2014.
- National commercial loads across the industry rose to an average of 10.9 minutes per hour across all Nielsen-tracked programming during December 2016. This is up from 10.7 minutes per hour in December 2015, and 10.4 minutes per hour in December 2014. Most network groups increased or held constant their commercial loads during the month, with Scripps and Time Warner notably reducing loads across their networks, Wieser says.
- Here’s good news for Bob Bakish: Viacom produced the largest share of C3 commercial impressions during December, with a 15.4% adults 18-49 share among national media owners. That’s up a sliver from December 2015 (15.3%) on slightly higher ad loads (14.8 minutes per hour in December 2016, compared to 14.3 minutes in December 2015). AMC posted the most significant gains, with 3.6% share in December 2016 vs. 2.9% in December 2015, while Time Warner saw the most significant declines, generating 10% of commercial share in December 2016, vs. 11.7% in December 2015.
- For the quarter, Comcast’s NBCUniversal Networks produced the most commercial impressions (14.7% of the national TV industry’s total, up from 14.4% in Q4 2015). FOX posted the most significant gains, with 10% commercial share in Q4 2016 vs. 9.1% in Q4 2015, while Time Warner saw the most significant declines (with 10.6% of commercial share in Q4 2016 vs. 11.6% in Q4 2015). The networks with the most significant audience losses included TBS (down from 3.2% to 2.3%), Freeform (down from 3.3% to 2.5%), FOX(down from 2.8% to 2.5%), CBS (down from 5.0% to 4.6%) and BET (down from 1.7% to 1.4%).
Commenting on his review and how he took into account metrics and data, Wieser said, “Total use of TV is important to monitor, as it provides investors with a relative sense of the health of the medium. While this data is incomplete in the sense that it excludes viewing of content on non-TV-based devices, going beyond network-level ratings and looking at aggregated sources of viewing helps to better analyze the relative importance of the medium to consumers. Commercial share data is important to monitor as networks with more available inventory to sell should generally capture a greater share of advertising budgets.”
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