We all know that viewers have been bailing on poor Jay in the 10 p.m. time slot, but where are they bailing to? Pali Research analyst Rich Greenfield sees much of the action moving over to cable. He cites an article in Media Life that shows 18-49 ratings for ABC/CBS/NBC are down 14 percent year-over-year. But almost all of that is attributable to declines at NBC. CBS and ABC are basically flat, which means that they have not seen any uptick from Leno. Here's more from Greenfield's report:
Ratings and ad revenues are not always in perfect sync, in turn, it is entirely possible that CBS and ABC have gained advertising share due to their broader reach (compared to cable networks), even with flat ratings. In addition, it is very likely that ratings would have been down notably at 10pm for ABC and CBS without the Leno shift on NBC, in turn, the year-over-year impact is masked (meaning flat is up notably from where they would have been). 10pm is also "DVR Hour" (meaning the prime hour, in which consumers watch recorded programming); likely responsible for the organic decline in ABC and CBS at 10 pm, but mitigated by the Leno shift.
Meanwhile, viewership for the ad-supported cable channels is up in that 10 p.m. slot. No one channel appears to be benefiting in particular. "We believe the impact has been quite fragmented, helping a wide array of cable networks that air original programming at 10pm," Greenfield writes. As Peter Kafka notes over at All Things Digital, network programmers still don't understand that the typical TV viewer no longer distinguishes between broadcast and cable.