Basic Tops Half-Century Mark


For the first time during the 'official' television season, basic cable
surpassed the 50-primetime-share mark last week.

According to a Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau analysis of Nielsen Media
Research data, basic cable garnered a 50.3 share of U.S. households April 8
through 14, the 2001-02 season's 29th week.

That performance marked the first time the medium had surmounted the 50-share
plateau when it has been up against first-run broadcast fare.

The CAB said basic cable had passed broadcast previously, but only during the
summer season. Generally speaking, the older medium has historically aired
repeats during the warmer months.

Basic cable scored a 5.1 share-point gain (11.3 percent) from the same week
in 2001, according to the CAB analysis.

The medium recorded a 14.7 percent gain in ratings to a 29.7 primetime
average and saw its delivery climb 18.3 percent to 31.3 million households --
both highs for the 2001-02 season to date.

Collectively, the seven broadcast networks sustained a 7.5 percent drop in
share to a 44.2 last week from a 47.8 share the year before, according to the

Broadcast ratings slipped 4.4 percent to a 26.2, while delivery slipped 1.4
percent to an average of 27.6 million homes.