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LIVE TV is Gaining Viewers? Really?

There were a couple of stories to share this morning. The first one is really obvious, but I would point out, Michelle beefed up our CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News coverage precisely because we knew what would happen.

Fox News Channel, Cable News Nets Soar In Viewers

  • by Wayne Friedman, Yesterday, 3:52 PM

Fox News Channel -- and other cable news networks -- witnessed sharply higher TV viewership in the first quarter, with Fox topping all cable networks in many categories.

Fox News Channel soared 38% in total prime-time viewers to average a Nielsen 2.37 million viewers. A year ago, it had 1.74 million in prime time, fourth-highest among all cable networks. Fox also bested all networks in total day viewership with 1.35 million.

Cable news networks witnessed higher TV viewership in the period, largely due to contentious and entertaining presidential primary and debate programming.

The next one kind of caught us by surprise. Most articles herald the demise of live TV. So what happened here?

Live TV, DVR Viewing Rises, Even As Pay TV Shrinks

  • by Wayne Friedman, 2 hours ago

Although pay TV homes are shrinking, TV viewing continues to climb.

Live TV viewing rose 7% in the fourth quarter of 2015 to 1,004 hours of TV viewed per household, with time-shifted viewing -- 15 days after live airing -- also gaining 7% to 356 hours of TV viewed per household, according to comScore’s TV Essentials.

“The availability of more viewing options appealing to a wide array of tastes, in addition to the continued expansion of premium original scripted programming on cable networks, has likely contributed to this effect,” according to a comScore report. (comScore is the new name for RENTRAK, the audience research we turn to for the most accurate viewing measurement)

All this comes in the wake of Nielsen recently reporting a fourth-quarter 2015 drop in cable subscribers of 2.5% and a 1.7% decline among all pay TV providers -- cable, satellite and telco.

Also in the comScore report, cable network-based video-on-demand -- free on demand services -- earned a 61.7% share for the first nine months of 2015 when looking at all video on demand. This is up slightly from a 61.4% share through the first nine months of 2014.

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