November to Remember for Cable

12/04/2003 5:13 AM Eastern

November proved to be another record-breaker for cable, as it beat out broadcast in primetime viewership during that particular month for the first time ever, according to the Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau.

Ad-supported cable averaged a household delivery of 32.9 million homes, surpassing the 32.2 million racked up by the seven broadcast networks, according to a CAB analysis of Nielsen Media Research data released Thursday.

Cable’s delivery was up 11.3% versus the same period a year ago, while broadcast’s was down slightly, by 0.7%.

Cable’s primetime share in November, and its ratings, also outdistanced broadcast. Cable racked up a 30.4 rating, up 9.7% from last November, and a 49.3 share, an 8.6% gain. In contrast, the combined seven broadcasters only did a 29.7 rating, a dip of 2.2%, and registered a 48.1 share, a decrease of 3.8%, according to the CAB’s analysis.

Cable’s dominance in November marks the earliest month it has enjoyed such an edge during a new season, the CAB said.

For the month, cable bested the "Big Four" -- ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox -- in primetime by 4.4 million homes, 4 rating points and 6.5 share points, the CAB said.

Cable got a boost from a strong performance during Thanksgiving week, when it posted a 51.4 primetime share compared with a 45.0 for the seven broadcast networks.

That Thanksgiving week was not part of the official November sweeps period, which only spanned Oct. 30-Nov. 25 this year. The CAB’s analysis Thursday compared the full month of November -- Nov. 1-30 -- to the same days last year.

For the November sweeps, cable’s primetime delivery was a hair behind that of the seven broadcasters. Cable averaged 32.5 million homes, slightly behind broadcast’s 33.1 million.

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VR 20/20

The Times Center, New York, NY