Cable Rules Primetime Midterm Marks: CAB

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It’s been all cable with key demos in primetime during the 2007-08 TV season, according to a Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau analysis.

Through the first 26 weeks of the current season, ad-supported cable broke to an early lead over their broadcast competitors, before widening their margin during the Writers Guild of America strike. Post-strike, cable hit record numbers through March 23, said CAB officials.

According to the adcvertising group's analysis of Nielsen Media Research Live + 7 data, the combination of 77 ad-supported cable networks posted a 17.8 rating in primetime against adults 18 to 49, compared with the seven broadcasters’ 13.3 mark with the demo. At the same time in the season a year ago, cable carried a slim edge: 15.9, compared to a 15.8 for broadcast

Among adults 18 to 34, ad-supported recorded a 16.6 rating, according to the CAB, versus 10.5 for broadcast. Last season, the newer medium held a 1.5 rating edge with a 14.8 rating.

The differential was even more substantial among very young adults. Cable notched a 15.7 with adults 18 to 24 at the midway point of the current TV season, more than twice broadcast’s 7.8 with the demo. Last season, it was 14.3 for cable and 10.5 for broadcast.

Among the 25-to-54 set, cable had a rating of 18.6, versus 15.6. That represented a major turnaround from last season: at that stage in the 2006-07 season, broadcast was up 17.9 to 16.7.

“The midterm data demonstrates that cable programming drove the growth of the television audience during the first half of this year – with the viewing of cable steadily rising,” said CAB president and CEO Sean Cunningham in a statement. “Moreover, as we move into the ’08 upfront season, cable’s original programming slate and ratings strength have never been more evident.”

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