US Networks: How Many Homes Reached? Which Ones Are Gaining Or Losing Distribution?

Leading audience researcher John Morse shared the most recent data and his takeaways on changes in the distribution footprints of 120 of the 500++ networks distributed in the US.

Many of the channels are dedicated to factual programs and others offer a mix of nonfiction and other genres.

  • The data is invaluable in helping you understand the scale – and growth trends – of the channels you are pitching.

The Nielsen report spotlights the raging debate about cord-cutting and the pervasive fear that the network television business will soon collapse like the newspaper industry.

  • In our next post, we will feature an analysis of cord-cutting from video platform expert Will Richmond, the publisher of VideoNuze.

US TVHH’s (000)

Network 2014 2013 +/- Category
WEATHER 99,282 100,093 -0.8% News
CNN / HLN 98,714 99,788 -1.1% News
FOOD 98,643 99,656 -1.0% Lifestyle
TBS 98,448 99,669 -1.2% Entertainment
USA 98,129 99,179 -1.1% Entertainment
DISCOVERY 98,107 99,230 -1.1% Factual/ Reality
ADULT SWIM 98,045 98,993 -1.0% Entertainment
CARTOON 98,045 98,993 -1.0% Kids
NICK-AT-NITE 98,040 99,373 -1.3% Entertainment
NICKELODEON 98,040 99,373 -1.3% Kids
CNN 97,893 99,081 -1.2% News
A&E 97,741 98,885 -1.2% Entert/ Reality
HISTORY 97,638 98,791 -1.2% Factual/ Reality
LIFETIME 97,574 98,851 -1.3% Entert/ Reality
HGTV 97,426 98,783 -1.4% Lifestyle
DISNEY 97,423 98,604 -1.2% Kids
TNN 97,314 98,759 -1.5% Entertainment
AMC 97,311 98,957 -1.7% Entertainment
COMEDY 97,236 98,476 -1.3% Comedy
TLC 97,130 98,614 -1.5% Reality
HEADLINE 97,128 98,804 -1.7% News
SPIKE TV 96,804 97,974 -1.2% Reality
ESPN 96,768 98,569 -1.8% Sports
SYFY 96,741 98,073 -1.4% Entert/ Reality
ESPN2 96,695 98,534 -1.9% Sports
FX 96,645 97,958 -1.3% Entertainment
MTV 96,634 98,295 -1.7% Reality
FOX NEWS 96,484 97,930 -1.5% News
VH1 96,001 97,404 -1.4% Entert/ Reality
E! 95,938 97,283 -1.4% Entertainment
MSNBC 95,768 95,465 0.3% News
ABC FAMILY 95,732 97,100 -1.4% Entertainment
ANIMAL PLANET 95,729 96,900 -1.2% Factual/ Reality
TV LAND 95,724 96,799 -1.1% Entertainment
CNBC 95,379 96,943 -1.6% News
TRAVEL 93,776 94,738 -1.0% Factual/ Reality
BRAVO 93,612 94,820 -1.3% Reality
TRU TV 90,806 92,141 -1.4% Reality
BET 90,761 91,663 -1.0% Entert/ Reality
CMT 90,637 91,803 -1.3% Music/ Entert
FOX SPORTS 1 87,684 81,080 8.1% Sports
HALLMARK 86,308 87,130 -0.9% Entertainment
WE TV 84,991 81,603 4.2% Reality
NAT GEO 84,797 84,791 0.0% Factual/ Reality
ID 84,281 80,412 4.8% Factual/ Reality
LIFETIME 83,523 84,558 -1.2% Entertainment
OPRAH / OWN 82,905 80,218 3.3% Entert/ Reality
GOLF 81,486 83,962 -2.9% Sports
MTV2 80,949 80,536 0.5% Entertainment
DISNEY XD 80,810 80,478 0.4% Kids
BBC-AMERICA 79,616 80,404 -1.0% News/ Entert
GSN 79,450 75,534 5.2% Entertainment
OXYGEN 77,574 79,093 -1.9% Reality
NBC SPORTS 77,463 77,888 -0.5% Sports
INSPIRATIONAL 77,138 72,982 5.7% Lifestyle
FOX BUSINESS 77,015 69,305 11.1% News
TV GUIDE 76,992 79,016 -2.6% Entertainment
SCIENCE 76,200 76,630 -0.6% Factual/ Reality
NICK JR 75,950 75,789 0.2% Entertainment
ESPNU 74,613 74,071 0.7% Sports
ESPNEWS 74,234 74,801 -0.8% Sports
TEENNICK 73,368 72,591 1.1% Entertainment
WGN AMERICA 72,896 75,293 -3.2% Entertainment
FUSE 72,675 72,532 0.2% Music
NFL NETWORK 72,284 69,668 3.8% Sports
THE HUB 71,472 71,424 0.1% Kids
ESQUIRE 71,290 76,343 -6.6% Entert/ Reality
IFC 71,263 69,675 2.3% Entertainment
FXX 70,376 42,324 66.3% Entertainment
MLB NETWORK 69,681 70,377 -1.0% Sports
H2 68,904 68,966 -0.1% Factual/ Reality
GALAVISION 68,054 66,675 2.1% Entertainment
BIO / FYI 67,646 69,197 -2.2% Factual
NICKTOONS 67,580 62,333 8.4% Kids
REELZ 67,314 65,314 3.1% Entertainment
UP (GMC) 64,677 59,887 8.0% Entertainment
DISNEY JR 63,493 NA Kids
GAC 62,710 62,734 0.0% Entertainment
MILITARY 62,153 61,469 1.1% Factual/ Docs
SOAPNET 61,531 66,452 -7.4% Entertainment
VH1 CLASSIC 60,967 61,123 -0.3% Music/ Entert
COOKING 60,856 60,089 1.3% Lifestyle
NBA-TV 59,941 60,697 -1.2% Sports
DESTINATION 59,245 59,806 -0.9% Factual/ Reality
DIY 57,827 58,419 -1.0% Lifestyle
TV ONE 57,245 57,199 0.1% Entertainment
NAT GEO WILD 57,133 57,529 -0.7% Factual
SUNDANCE 56,792 NA Lifestyle/ Reality
SPROUT 56,740 53,037 7.0% Kids
VELOCITY 56,469 45,170 25.0% Lifestyle/ Factual
HALLMARK MOVIE 53,110 48,933 8.5% Entertainment
LOGO 52,326 51,088 2.4% Lifestyle/ Factual
CENTRIC 52,229 50,822 2.8% Entertainment
FX MOVIE 50,339 46,583 8.1% Entertainment
AL JAZEERA AM. 48,936 58,071 -15.7% News
DISC FIT & HEALTH 47,792 48,881 -2.2% Lifestyle
OVATION 42,550 51,532 -17.4% Music/ Arts
ENCORE 42,432 41,179 3.0% Entertainment
ENCORE PRIMARY 41,288 40,114 2.9% Entertainment
CHILLER 41,069 43,021 -4.5% Entertainment
MUN2 CABLE 40,190 38,525 4.3% Entert/ Reality
RFD-TV 40,105 41,498 -3.4% Lifestyle
OUTDOOR 38,627 38,726 -0.3% Lifestyle
TR3S 36,366 34,706 4.8% Music
FOX SPORTS 2 36,217 37,649 -3.8% Sports
NUVO TV 32,653 31,669 3.1% Entert/ Reality
SPORTSMAN 32,060 31,438 2.0% Sports
UNIVISION SPORTS 31,645 NA Sports
G4 31,418 61,896 -49.2% Entertainment
STARZ 29,328 27,907 5.1% Entertainment
ESPN CLASSIC 29,063 31,504 -7.7% Sports
STARZ PRIMARY 28,590 27,154 5.3% Entertainment
CLOO 28,572 34,195 -16.4% Entertainment
SHOWTIME 28,100 26,220 7.2% Entertainment
SHOWTIME PRIME 27,930 26,040 7.3% Entertainment
FOX DEPORTES 21,336 20,288 5.2% Sports
MULTIMAX 21,150 19,249 9.9% Entertainment
MAXPRIME 20,805 19,064 9.1% Entertainment
DISCOVERY EN ESP 7,139 7,509 -4.9% Factual/ Reality
DISCOVERY FAMILIA 5,736 NA Factual/ Reality
TOTAL US 115,800  114,200 1.4%

 Source: National Nielsen People Meter

Key Findings (comparing Jan 2013 vs Jan 2014)

Down Side

  • MORE than 50% lost 500K or more HHs
  • 42% lost more than 1 million HHs

Up Side

  • 30% gained more than 1 million HHs (Sports, Traditional Entertainment, Kids & Lifestyle Channels)
  • Premium Cable and Live programming appear to be growing strong as there are relatively few substitutes, especially for live programs

Nielsen now projects total wired cable at 67,693,000 homes, down 187,000 in the past year.  Other measurement services have estimated larger decreases in wired cable.

  • Sat. dish services total 37,016,000, up 822,000 from a year ago (+2.3%).
  • Total Cable/Dish services have 104,198,000 homes, up 788,000 (+0.8%).
  • The average cable network lost 78,000 homes, having more to do with sample adjustments than real losses.
  • The average network nationally measured now reaches 69,948,000 homes.  This number has decreased because newer, smaller networks have been included in the average.

There were 8 nets with increases of over 4 million homes in the past year:

  • FXX (formerly Fox Soccer): +28.1 million homes
    (This is the new Fox “general entertainment” network aimed at Adults 18-34.  It features movies 6PM-12Midnight and mostly off-network series during the rest of the schedule.)
  • Velocity (formerly HD Theater): +11.3
  • Fox Business Network: +7.1
  • Fox Sports 1 (formerly Speed): +6.6
  • Nick Toons: +5.2
  • UP (formerly GMC): +4.8
  • Hallmark Movie Channel: +4.2
  • INSP: +4.2 . . . total homes reached is now 77.1 million, up 5.7% past year.

There were 6 networks with decreases of over 4 million homes in the past year:

  • G4: -30.5
  • Al Jazeera America: -9.1
  • OVATION: -9.0 (TWC reinstatement is coming; should register with Nielsen next month)
  • CLOO: -5.6
  • ESQUIRE (formerly Style): -5.1
  • SOAPNET: -4.9

Recent networks that have been launched or re-launched and have begun/continued Nielsen measurement in the past year (with homes reached in millions):

  • Discovery Familia: 5.7 million homes
    (Note: Hispanic and Kids’ networks tend to have very high ratings even soon after launch . . . enough to monetize the Nielsen investment with relatively low distributions.)
  • Disney Junior: 63.5
  • Esquire (formerly Style): 71.3
  • Fox Deportes: 21.3
  • Fox Sports 1 (formerly Speed): 87.7
  • Fox Sports 2 (formerly Fuel): 36.2
  • FXX (formerly Fox Soccer Channel): 70.4
  • Sundance Channel: 56.8
  • Univision Deportes: 31.6
  • Velocity (formerly HD Theater): 56.5

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Speaking Engagements

How Audience Research Can Make or Break Your Pitch
Realscreen Masterclass
Sunday, January 26, 2014 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM, Georgetown East

Brad DancerMaster Class Leader, SVP, Programming, Planning and Research
National Geographic Channel
Brent StinskiMaster Class Leader, Founder and CEO Media Predict
Peter HamiltonModerator

Asian Side of the Doc
Chengdu, China, March 18-21, 2014
Panel: Crowd-funding Platforms in Asia
Panel: 3D / IMAX/ BIG SCREENS for Docs

MIPDoc
Cannes, April 5-6, 2014
Panel: How to Get the Funds: Co-pro’s and Foundations
Interview: Louis Vaudeville, CC&C Paris: The Apocalypse Franchise

AND, don’t miss Hot Docs in the Big TO
April 24 – May 4, 2014