More trouble for the nets as daytime viewing WAY down

Mediaweek’s John Consoli reports, in the cleverly-titled “Soaps on the Ropes,” that daytime ratings on the Big Three networks are down a cumulative 13 percent among the daypart’s key demographic, women 18–49, spurring concern among advertisers who need to target that audience.

Every one of the networks’ daytime soap operas is down in the ratings. Among the biggest declines in women 18–49 ratings are ABC’s One Life to Live, down 23 percent to a 1.7, and General Hospital, down 20 percent to a 2.0; CBS’ The Bold and the Beautiful, down 20 percent to a 1.6, Guiding Light, down 19 percent to a 1.3, and As the World Turns, down 18 percent to a 1.4; and NBC’s Passions, down 16 percent to a 1.6.

Even CBS’ top-rated soap, The Young and the Restless, is down 12 percent among women 18–49 to a 2.3, as is NBC’s highest-rated soap opera, Days of Our Lives, which has dropped 12 percent to a 2.2 in the demo.

“I do not recall seeing these high levels of ratings decreases in daytime across all the networks at the same time,” said Lyle Schwartz, senior vp and director of media research at Mediaedge:cia. “If these levels of audience declines continue to go forward, the networks are going to have problems meeting certain advertiser needs. There are advertisers who are going to want their makegoods in fourth quarter, and not wait till next year. If too many advertisers want their makegoods early, it could create problems for the networks.”

Another media buyer, who asked not to be named, pointed out that NBC—with only two soaps, compared to four on ABC and four on CBS—will have fewer places to offer immediate makegoods and might have to shift advertisers into other dayparts (such as prime time).

The article offers no suggestions as to where these women have gone, but it fails to take into consideration the Internet. Not that I have any empirical evidence, but duh!


  1. Matt C. Wilson says

    And Tivo. I mean, come on, Lance’s possessed wife’s baby turns out to be Yvonne’s ex-yoga instructor’s alien-encounter love child…? The only reason this dreck ever got ratings was because it was the only thing on!

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