Last year was a good one for basic cable, as the medium set a host of
primetime viewership records.
Basic cable averaged a 26.6 primetime rating during 2001 (Jan. 1 through Dec.
30), according to a Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau analysis of Nielsen Media
That's up 9 percent from a 24.4 average in 2000 (Dec. 27, 1999, through Dec.
The ratings amelioration helped to trigger an 11.2 percent rise in delivery
to nearly 27.5 million households in 2001 versus 24.7 million in 2000.
The medium's share increased 9.2 percent to a 45.0 from the 41.2 it
registered during the previous span.
Much of basic cable's growth came at the expense of the broadcast sector.
According to the CAB analysis, the weighted gross primetime-ratings average of
the seven broadcast networks declined 8.7 percent to a 28.1 in 2001 from a 30.7
the prior year.
Broadcast's share, meanwhile, slipped 8.7 percent to a 47.5 from a 52.The
medium's delivery dropped 6.8 percent to just over 29 million households last
year from 31.1 million in 2000.
From a primetime-ratings perspective, four of the broadcasters suffered
primetime household erosion in 2001.
NBC took the biggest hit, losing 17.4 percent of its ratings base to a 7.1
average. For its part, NBC was off 7.7 percent to a 7.2, while United Paramount
Network and Fox decreased 4 percent and 1.9 percent to a respective 2.4 and
CBS, The WB Television Network and Pax TV maintained the household ratings
status quo in primetime year-to-year, posting 7.6, 2.3 and 0.9 averages,
respectively, according to the CAB.