Cable Narrows Gap During May Sweeps


Basic cable made serious inroads in primetime
versus the broadcast networks during the May sweeps.

Basic cable averaged a 27.1 household rating in primetime April 25 through May 21, a 13.9 percent gain from the medium's 23.8 average over the similar span last year, according to a Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau analysis of Nielsen Media Research data. The 2002 sweeps period concluded May 22.

The ratings gain translated into an 11.8 increase in share to a 45.4 from a
40.6 last year, and it triggered a 17.5 percent rise in delivery to 28.6 million
households from 24.3 million.

By way of contrast, the seven broadcast networks posted a weighted gross
average rating of 30.1, down 4.2 percent from a 31.5 in the similar span within
the 2001 sweeps period, according to the CAB analysis.

In the process, basic cable narrowed its share gap with broadcast to just 4.8
points, as the latter attracted a 50.2. Last year, broadcast's share was 53.3
versus 40.6 for cable.

Broadcast household delivery slipped 1.2 percent to nearly 31.8 million
households from 32.2 million for the period covering April 26 through May 22,