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ESPN Gets Bowled Over in January

2/06/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

ESPN rode its annual collegefootball
bowl coverage to basic cable’s first
monthly primetime ratings win of 2012.

The sports network dropped 5% of its audience
compared with last year, but its 3.7 million
average primetime viewers 2-plus bested
USA Network’s 2.6 million watchers, which
were down 6% compared with January 2011.

Disney Channel took third place with 2.5
million viewers, down 7% from last year,
while History grew 21%
to 2.2 million and TBS
posted a 26% increase to
2 million viewers to fill in
the top five most watched
networks for the month.

TNT (2 million viewers,
down 6%); Fox News
Channel (1.9 million
viewers, up 6%); A&E
Network (1.8 million, up 2%); FX (1.3 million,
down 20%); and Nick at Nite (969,000, down
41%) rounded out the top 10.

On a 24-hour basis, Nickelodeon topped
all basic-cable networks, despite a 23% viewership
falloff from January 2011. The network
averaged 1.9 million viewers last month to
top Disney Channel’s 1.7 million viewers,
which was down 3%. ESPN (1.4 million, down
7%); USA Network (1.3 million, down 4%); and
Adult Swim (1.2 million viewers, down 1%)
all finished in the top five networks for the
month.

ESPN’s collegefootball coverage
dominated
the most-watched
shows for January,
with live game coverage
or live studio
pre- and post-game
telecasts representing
nine of the 10 most-watched shows in
January. ESPN’s Jan. 9 BCS National Championship
game between LSU and Alabama
topped all shows for the month, with 24 million
viewers.

Several networks posted stellar January
performances, led by Planet Green, which
posted a whopping 82% year-to-year gain
(to 166,000 viewers). Other networks garnering
big audience increases included GMC
(155,000 viewers, up 70%); Discovery Fit &
Health (121,000, up 57%); NBA TV (205,000,
up 55%); Sprout (183,000 viewers, up 49%);
DIY Network (136,000, up 43%); Nat Geo Wild
(162,000, up 40%); VH1 (799,000, up 39%); IFC
(184,000, up 36%); NFL Network (205,000, up
35%); and CNN (842,000, up 25%).

Other networks that didn’t fare so well
in January include Hallmark Movie Channel
(215,000, down 27%); Hallmark Channel
(672,000, down 27%); MTV (1.1 million, down
27%); Mun2 (74,000, down 26%); The Weather
Channel (234,000, down 25%) and Oxygen
(410,000, down 25%).

 

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April