Basic cable beat the broadcast networks in collective primetime viewership
during April -- a feat that saw the medium break through during television's
so-called regular season for the first time.
According to a Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau analysis of Nielsen Media
Research data, basic cable's primetime ratings climbed 13.7 percent to a 29.1
average April 1 through 28, up from a 25.6 in April 2001.
The medium's share grew 12.4 percent to a 48.9 from a 43.5, while its
delivery expanded 17.4 percent to 30.7 million from 26.2 million.
Those numbers outpaced the 27.4 weighted gross average rating of the seven
broadcast networks, which, as a group, incurred a 7.8 percent drop from a 29.8
rating in April 2001.
The CAB analysis also showed that the seven broadcast networks' weighted
share was off 8.9 percent to a 45.9 from a 50.4. Their delivery decreased 4.9
percent to just under 29 million.
Although basic cable has overtaken broadcast during the past several summers,
when the latter is largely immersed in reruns, the April performance marked the
first time cable -- which typically ramps up its original productions during the
warmer months -- ranked first during the September-through-May period.
'This milestone makes us doubly assured of our prediction that in 2002-03,
cable will surpass broadcast for the first time for the complete season,' CAB
president and CEO Joe Ostrow said.