Cable Tops B'cast in Primetime Again


December's third week was much like the month's first two relative to basic
cable topping the broadcast networks in primetime.

Basic cable averaged a 28.9 rating Dec. 16 through 22, a 4.3 percent rise
from its 27.7 collective rating recording during the daypart in the
corresponding week of 2001, according to a Cabletelevision Advertising Bureau
analysis of Nielsen Media Research data.

The industry's share improved 1.7 percent to a 49.0 from a 48.2, while
household delivery advanced 5.3 percent to nearly 30.8 million from 29.2

By way of contrast, the seven broadcast networks' weighted gross in primetime
declined 5.6 percent last week to a 26.5, down from a 28.0 in the same week a
year ago. Broadcast's share slipped 8 percent to a 45.0, as delivery declined
4.3 percent to 28.3 million households.

Individually, only NBC scored a gain among the broadcasters, notching a 5.1
percent advance to a 6.2 household rating. CBS, Fox and Pax TV were flat at an
8.0, a 4.0 and a 0.9, respectively.

ABC sustained a 15.3 percent hit to a 6.1, while UPN was off 8 percent to a
2.3 rating and The WB Television Network decreased 8.7 percent to a 2.1 average
last week.

"Based on the past few weeks, cable will clearly be the dominant TV medium
for the entire holiday season and enter the new year with tremendous
audience-growth momentum," CAB president and CEO Joe Ostrow said in a prepared

"Consequently, advertisers can expect a continually growing return on their
cable investments in 2003," he added.