CBS Has Seen Minimal Ratings Effect From Time Warner Blackout

Big Brother host Julie Chen

Overall numbers unchanged, though 'Under the Dome' took a tumble in L.A.; 'Big Brother' flat

One week after Time Warner Cable blacked out its stations in three major markets, CBS is reporting a minimal bottom-line effect on its ratings.

Compared to the seven-day period during the week prior to the blackout, CBS was down only 0.2% in total viewers and was unchanged in adults 18-49, according to Nielsen data analyzed by CBS. The Eye was also up vs. the same week last summer, though it was up against NBC’s coverage of the Olympics a year ago at this time.

“Big Brother,” which because it airs three times a week is a good measuring stick, averaged the same 2.3 rating in adults 18-49 during the first week of the blackout as it did the prior week. It was similarly on par in total viewers (6.6 million vs. 6.7 million).

One show that did seem to be impacted, though, was top-rated summer original “Under the Dome.” The drama was down 7% week to week in adults 18-49 (2.6 on Aug. 4 during the blackout vs. a 2.8 on July 29), with much of that damage traceable to declines in Dallas (off 19% in adults 18-49, 3.0 vs. 3.7) and Los Angeles (off 58%, 0.8 vs. 1.9); ratings for the New York market were off just 5% (1.9 vs. 2.0).

The declines in the markets blacked out by Time Warner came even though other top 10 markets — Chicago, Philadelphia and Houston — were all up this past Monday vs. the one before the blackout started.

August is traditionally one of the lowest months of the year for ratings and advertising revenue, making the overall financial impact of the blackout negligible. Of course, that all changes in September, when CBS begins its coverage of the NFL regular season and launches its new fall lineup.

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  1. Max Power says:

    You can watch your favorite CBS shows and CBS sports -look at

  2. Em says:

    It’s not that twc viewers aren’t watching, look at the time of year it is. Come September and October people will be feeling it. 5 of the best shows that I can think of are on cbs, but it’s summer so my guess is most people are waiting for the fall line up and are now out enjoying the summer

  3. Viewer says:

    CBS says that their ratings have not been significantly affected by the Time Warner Cable (TWC) blackout. This means TWC customers were not watching CBS to begin with. If TWC customers are not watching CBS, then why should TWC keep negotiating to try to keep it on the lineup? Sounds like TWC customers do not and will not miss CBS.

  4. G. Jardoness says:

    Perhaps the United Nations should send in peace-keeping forces? — cause this sucker could really escalate… The next thing you know, the casts of “Two Broke Girls” and “The Big Bang Theory” get tossed out of Warner Brothers Studios — Piers Morgan and Robin Meade lead a crack CNN in-depth-action-news-team strike-force against “How I Met Your Mother” and “NCIS” — Then Daniel Loeb will start dating Stacy Keibler out of spite, Johnny Depp and Armie Hammer will make critics watch “The Lone Ranger” again — and the making of comic-book driven movies will never – never – never end…. Dear God, just make it stop!

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