Cable Narrows the Gap

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While each of the seven broadcast networks sustained household ratings
erosion last week, basic cable notched an almost 6 percent jump in
primetime.

Basic cable averaged a 29.2 rating from Dec. 3 to Dec. 9 -- a 5.8 percent
increase from the 27.6 rating the medium averaged a year ago (Dec. 4 to Dec. 10,
2000), according to a Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau analysis of Nielsen
Media Research data.

Cable's share during the 11th week of the 2001-2002 TV season grew by 9.1
percent to a 48.1 share, while delivery jumped 9.5 percent to 30.8 million
households.

For their part, the seven broadcast networks' weighted household average
declined 7.4 percent to a 30.1 rating last week, down from a 32.5 in the
corresponding span in 2000.

The broadcasters saw their share shrink by 4.6 percent to a 49.6, while their
delivery dropped 4.4 percent to 31.8 million households, according to the CAB
analysis.

As such, the gap between cable and broadcast's primetime delivery narrowed to
1 million, down from 5 million last year.

CAB reported that the seven networks each lost household ground last week --
the first time that's happened this season.

In descending percentage order, Fox's rating slipped the most, by 12.1
percent to a 5.1; followed by an 11.1 percent decline to a 2.4 for UPN; and 10
percent drops by NBC and Pax TV to a 7.2 and a 0.9, respectively.

ABC was off 10 percent to a 7.4, while CBS took a 5.9 percent hit to an 8.0
household average.

The WB lost the least, declining 4.2 percent to a 2.3.

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