CHARTS: Why Audience Ratings Have Collapsed For Cable TV Shows

tv suicide

Photo: The Dirt Floor

Last month, Citibank entertainment media analyst Jason B. Bazinet and his team wrote that they were “flummoxed” by the collapse in audience ratings on cable TV.These charts should help solve the mystery: People are watching less cable TV because cable TV subscribers are in a long-term decline.

This, of course, is a disaster for cable companies like Time Warner Cable, Comcast, Cablevision, and Charter Communications.

Households are increasingly less likely to subscribe to pay TV for television’s stake. Instead, as the concurrent rise in broadband subscriptions provided by “telephone” companies shows, cable TV is becoming a vestigial product in triple-play packages where web service is consumers’ main concern.

It’s a potential bonanza for companies like Verizon, and AT&T. Less so for Dish TV and DirecTV, whose business is growing in rural areas where Verizon and AT&T are unlikely to install FIOS and U-Verse.

These charts, from data supplied by by One Touch Intelligence, Citi and ISI Group, show how that happened.

This is the decline in cable TV ratings as reported by Citi last month.

By amazing coincidence, over a similar period cable TV subscribers are also in decline.

The decline comes despite broadband subscriptions as a whole increasing. Those subs, however, are going to telco companies—not TV companies.

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