ABC, CBS, FOX, & NBC Primetime Viewership is Falling Fast as Cord Cutting Speeds Up





man cutting cord with scissors

Viewership across the top networks is falling fast, thanks in large part to cord-cutters jumping from traditional linear television to a vast number of streaming platforms. Overall, primetime television views fell 9 percent compared to last year. Taking a look back at the numbers from a decade ago, however, most broadcasting networks have lost approximately nearly half of total viewers.

CBS was listed as the most-watched network during the 2022-2023 season totaling an average of 5.96 million primetime viewers, down 5 percent from last year. During the 2012-2013 season, the network was averaging 11.85 million viewers. 

NBC concluded this season with 5.27 million viewers, down from 6.97 million during the 2012-2013 season. Fox netted 4.45 million total viewers this year, falling from 7.02 million during the 2012-2013 season. Since last year, viewership has fallen by only 1 percent.

ABC was hit hard, falling from 7.88 million in 2012-2013 to 4.14 million in the 2022-2023 season. The network had lost 2 percent of its audience since last year.

Most networks are seeing a significant decline in viewership from adults between the ages of 18-49. This is a key demographic willing to switch from traditional linear television to streaming platforms and also the age group tuning in the most to sports events, like the Super Bowl. 

Large sports events really drive up numbers across the board, but even so, networks are seeing a pattern of dwindling audiences as streaming platforms take over. Households often will subscribe to several services but are increasingly cutting the cable cord. 

Netflix has over 230.75 million subscribers and is likely to see a significant increase as they crack down on password sharing. Amazon Prime Video totals 205 million subscribers, Disney+ has 157.8 million, and ESPN+ has 25.3 million. Even YouTube TV, which debuted in 2017, is seeing numbers on par with broadcast networks’ total viewerships, totaling 5 million active subscribers.

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