Commercial minute ratings fell in July led by a double-digit decline on cable, which had its worst month since May 2017, according to an analysis of Nielsen data by Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson Research.
In prime time C3 ratings among 18 to 49 year olds, a key metric for buying and selling ads, was down 12% from a year ago.
Cable networks were down 12% in prime time, compared to a 9% decline in June. For total day cable was down 15% in July.
21st Century Fox's cable networks posted the smallest decline at 5% as their viewership was boosted by World Cup soccer coverage on FS1. The cable networks owned by The Walt Disney Co., AMC Networks and A+E all posted a 17% drop.
Among the top 25 rated cable networks, only Viacom’s Comedy Central and MTV showed gains. Crown Media’s Hallmark Channel was flat. Viacom also had the two biggest decliners in the quarter with Nickelodeon and Nick at Night.
The broadcast networks were down 12% in primetime in July and down 8% for total day.
Fox’s ratings grew 5% in primetime during the month, thanks largely to its World Cup coverage. NBC recorded the biggest decline, down 17%.
“Now that the upfront has closed for most networks, we will turn to the scatter market to see if pricing can continue to make up for challenged ratings,” Nathanson said in his report.