The following note provides context of recent growth rates of sportsvrelated programming, with commentary relevant to key media owners including CBS, Disney, Fox and Comcast’s NBCU.
Sports programming remains an important source of viewing of traditional TV networks. As a genre, it represents an outsized source of costs, revenues and strategic leverage between networks and distributors. We estimate that viewing of sports programming on national TV properties during 2016 amounted to approximately 36bn person-hours on a live+same-day basis across all dayparts and all people, and around 38bn person-hours including time-shifting on a similar basis. This represented 10% of total national TV viewing hours including 7 days of DVR playback, which amounted to 374bn person-viewing hours during 2016. All live and time-shifted viewing (which includes viewing on local properties) amounted to around 490bn person-viewing hours in 2016.
As is well-known, live sports viewing has generally held up well despite ratings declines, and has become increasingly important for national network owners. Over the past decade, live+same-day viewing hours of sports programming is actually up by nearly 7% in total, although half of this growth was attributable to the inclusion of summer Olympics in 2016 vs. winter Olympics in 2006. Over the past year, all nationally rated sports viewing on a live+same-day basis (and on a live+7 basis) was up by 5% during 2016 over 2015, although excluding Olympics viewing was down by -3%. For reference, all other nationally rated viewing hours fell by -1% during 2016 vs. 2015. By network group during 2016, Disney properties, primarily including ESPN, accounted for 32% of total viewing. NBCU properties generated 20% of viewing, with more than a third due to Olympics programming. Fox properties captured around 16% of total viewing, while CBS represented 13% of the total.
Key observations from our analysis through week 11 of the calendar year (ending Sunday March 12), for which live+same-day data became available yesterday, follow:
FULL REPORT INCLUDING RISKS AND DISCLOSURES CAN BE FOUND HERE: TV Update 3-17-17.pdf
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