Nielsen report: most cable networks lost viewers this year

According to a new Nielsen report, most cable networks lost a substantial number of viewers this year in comparison to the same numbers from 2014. Only a few steadfast networks saw gains in their viewership numbers, with Cartoon Network trumping them all and both AMC and Discovery following close behind. Despite those few successes, though, overall cable network performance was low — and they mostly have Netflix to blame.

Ask anyone you know if they have a Netflix account, and the answer will probably be yes. There's a good chance they have a Hulu account, too, maybe even a couple other online video streaming accounts. While many of those subscribers have a cable subscription, too, an increasing number of people are ditching traditional cable in favor of online-only streaming. Cable-cutting has become particularly attractive now that increasing sports streaming options are becoming available.

According to a new Nielsen report, 2015 was a terrible year for most cable networks, the vast majority of which saw their numbers decrease substantially over 2014. In the coveted 18 to 49 age group, for example, ESPN was down 8% year-on-year, USA was down 19%, History was down 25%, MTV was down 23%, and FX was down 18%.

Bucking the trend, though, was Cartoon Network with a 15% increase in viewers this year as compared to 2014. E! increased 2%, HGTV increased 8%, Discovery increased 3%, and AMC increased 9%. The figures are a bit different when looking at total viewers rather than just the 18 to 49 age group, though — in that case, Cartoon Network was down 8% overall, AMC was up only 3% overall, and Discovery was up 11%.

Overall, the top networks among 18 to 49 year olds, despite their loses, was ESPN, TBS, and USA.

SOURCE: Variety