ESPN sets 2016 pace for 1Q prime-time cable network ratings among males
In recent months, presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle have been crisscrossing the country in search of support. So far, there is only one clear winner.
In the first quarter of the year, ESPN led all cable networks in prime time among all the key male demo groups – 18+, 18-34, 18-49 and 25-54. In addition, the network was tops among viewers 18-34 and 18-49. The latter was last achieved in Q1 five years ago. In addition, among all viewers, ESPN placed second – behind only Fox News.
College football and the NBA attracted large audiences.
– Kelly Johnson
“We have a great story,” ESPN Vice President, TV, Audio and Cross-Platform Research, Kelly Johnson, says. “There are three underpinnings to ratings – frequency, time spent viewing and reach. Frequency has always been an ESPN strong point because with our diverse programming, people keep tuning in to see what’s on.
“Notably,” she continues, “time spent viewing is up and while reach has seen small declines, that is happening across the industry thanks to the explosion of choice – both linear TV and on-demand options.”
All this has been happening while the public’s attention to the presidential primary races is unusually high. The Republican debates in particular have garnered unprecedented viewership numbers.
“The four cable news channels have seen increases, but it’s to the detriment of other networks, not ESPN,” Johnson explains. “Their gains are in the older demos, not our sweet spot of men 18-34 and 25-54.”