Can NBC keep up its ratings swagger without NFL, "The Voice"?

Fri Nov 16, 2012 8:32am EST
 

By Liana B. Baker

NEW YORK (Reuters) - NBC is expected to wrap up its fall season as the No. 1 broadcast network in the key 18-49 advertising demographic for the first time in a decade.

The network's catapult to first place from fourth in the ratings is the biggest surprise so far of the young TV season. The question is how long can its ratings momentum last.

The Comcast-owned network has seen a surge in the fall fueled by two shows that won't be around by the end of December, its red-hot Sunday Night NFL telecast and the hugely popular singing competition "The Voice."

The numbers are shining a positive light on Entertainment Chief Bob Greenblatt, in his second year since moving over from the Showtime cable network. In the first quarter of 2013, however, analysts and advertising buyers say holes in NBC's lineup can't make up for the loss of its two top shows.

"I'm skeptical about whether their ratings are sustainable," said Brad Adgate, who heads research for the advertising firm Horizon Media. "Once those shows go on hiatus or they are doing repeats, I'd be surprised if what they replace with them with will deliver those type of numbers."

When the TV season started, NBC boosted its ratings by adding a second season of the "The Voice" in the fall, instead of airing it only during the spring, and showing it on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The show gave NBC ratings victories in the 18-49 demographic, the age group that advertisers seek, has consistently won its time slots while boosting shows like "Revolution" and "Go On" that followed it.

Total viewers increased from a year ago by 20 percent, to an average of 8.8 million per night, while rivals CBS, FOX and ABC are all down in total viewers.   Continued...

 
An NBC sign on the General Electric building in New York October 5, 2009.REUTERS/Mike Segar