End nigh for linear cable? Cable audience down 11% year over year

Audience ratings for linear TV continue to plummet, with the latest Bernstein Research audience tracker revealing an overall year-over-year dip of 11 percent for the week of May 4-11.

Cable ratings remain hardest hit of all, according to the report. Audience levels for non-kids cable programming were down 11 percent for the week, suffering partly due to the fact that the highly popular NFL Draft was programmed into the comparable week in 2014 but aired a week earlier in 2015.

The draft aside, it was the fifth straight week that cable showed a double-digit ratings decrease. 

Kids cable networks were down 22 percent year over year, while broadcast networks saw their audiences drop 10 percent. 

The more disturbing element to Bernstein's report is that the downward trend seems to be accelerating. Non-kids cable was down 10.5 percent year over year in Q1, but was down 11.1 percent for the most recently measured week. Kids cable was down 17.7 percent in Q1, but nearly 22 percent for the week of May 4-11.

"Like a child playing with a broken Jack-in-the-Box, we continue to crank out weekly ratings reports, cautiously wondering if ratings will leap up and surprise us," wrote study author Todd Juenger. "For another week, the Jack remains hidden, if anything sinking further into his hole."

Juenger, of course, was the analyst who first connected the dots to an overall decrease in linear viewing to increased SVOD consumption. 

For more:
- see this report (sub. req.)

Related links:
Cable's ratings collapse: Latest research reports provide more conclusive evidence that it's SVOD's fault
Viacom profits take hit as conglomerate shuffles repeats for new hits
Viacom takes $785M write-down for layoffs, cratering cable TV ratings

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