TV Ratings Were Pretty Awful This Summer

Senior analyst Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson summed up this summer’s TV ratings in one word:


Nathanson tells The Wall Street Journal that American TV ratings are sinking to such low levels because Americans are shifting their viewing habits to on-demand and streaming services like Netflix. According to the report, broadcast network ratings dropped 5.1%, while cable ratings tanked 9.8%.

In his report, Nathanson writes we should either be concerned that people’s viewing habits are changing drastically, or that there is something wrong with Nielsen’s measurement practices. He also argues that during the summer there isn’t a lot of “original content.”

Earlier this summer Ad Age took an in-depth look at some of the summer’s hit shows, and others that weren’t performing so well. Some shows from this summer’s lineup included Fox’s “24: Live Another Day,” TNT’s “The Last Ship,” and CBS’s “Extant,” starring Halle Berry.

CBS’s “Extant” and “Under the Dome” started with relatively strong numbers, but dropped off week by week. The CW tried to hop into the 30-minute comedy game with “Backpackers” and “Seed,” but both shows averaged under 500,000 viewers and had 0.2 ratings among younger audiences. FX’s “Wilfred” could only bring in 371,000 viewers under 50, while “Wipeout” was down 33%.

Even though shows like “Wilfred” are seeing ratings (plus viewer numbers) tanking, Vulture argues people are increasingly turning away from appointment viewing, or watching a show live, and instead are time-shifting, recording the show or going online and watching at a later time.

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