USA Network remained undefeated for the summer in basic cable’s primetime ratings race, winning the month of July despite a double-digit percentage drop in year-to-year viewership, according to Nielsen.
The “Characters Welcome” network’s average of 2.6 million viewers from July 1-28 was down 19% from the same period in 2012 , according to Nielsen (the ratings are based on Live+7 Blended with Live+SD from 07/15/2013 to date). In fact, cable’s top eight most-watched networks posted viewership declines during the month.
Still, USA’s wins in June and July mark the first time a cable network has notched consecutive monthly ratings wins so far this year.
Disney Channel finished July in second place with 2.5 million viewers, down 5% from last year, followed by TNT at 2.5 million, down 13% ; History at 2.0 million viewers for a 9% viewer falloff ; and TBS’s at 1.7 million watchers, dropping 4%.
Rounding out July’s top 10 were Fox News Channel (down 3% to 1.6 million viewers); A&E (down 9% to 1.6 million); FX (down 16% to 1.3 million); HGTV (up 4% to 1.2 million); and Discovery Channel (up 3% to 1.2 million).
Disney Channel finished first among networks on a total day basis with 1.9 million viewers, besting Nickelodeon’s 1.8 million watchers.
Among cable news networks, CNN posted a strong 38% audience gain in July, to 675,000 viewers, finishing second behind Fox News Channel in the primetime ratings race. MSNBC dropped 18% to 589,000 viewers, while HLN finished fourth with 491,000 viewers, up 38% from July 2012.
Fox Soccer Channel, which next month is expected to be rebranded into the FXX entertainment channel, led all cable networks in year-to-year viewership gains, riding its coverage of the CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament to a whopping 375% increase.
Other networks posting big audience increases in July included TeenNick (109%), Nick at Nite (69%), UP (formerly GMC TV, 59%), IFC (58%), HLN (53%), OWN (48%) and WE TV (44%).
Struggling during the month were Nick Jr. (41%), Style (35%), ESPN2 (35%) and NBC Sports Network (33%).
USA Network withstood a double-digit percentage drop in year-to-year viewership to top basic cable in July’s primetime Nielsen ratings.