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The Numbers Game: Cablevision Blackout Hurts Ratings For Fox Programs

Although it should not come as much of a surprise, the ongoing dispute between Fox and Cablevision has taken its toll on WNYW/channel 5′s ratings in the New York area.  According to a MediaPost report by David Goetzl, the blackout of Fox for Cablevision subscribers caused a tremendous ratings drop for Monday’s new episode of House.  Meanwhile, last Sunday’s New York Giants game and Fox 5 News at 10 p.m. have not witnessed as steep of a decline.

This week’s House delivered just a 0.8 rating in New York’s 18-49 demo, a 67 percent decrease from the previous Monday.  The blackout’s role in the drop off is reinforced by the level week-to-week ratings posted by House on the national scale.  Sunday’s 1 p.m. Giants-Lions game, however, scored a 4.1 rating in the 18-49 demo; just a 27 percent slide from Fox’s 1 p.m. Giants-Texans game on Oct. 10.

Similar to the local NFL programming, Fox 5 News at 10 p.m. has also experienced a relatively small ratings drop of 27% in New York.  Compared to the .93 posted on Oct. 10, Monday’s late newscast notched a .68 rating among 18-49-year-old audiences.  WNYW was losing ratings points prior to the blackout, so it remains to be seen just how influential the feud with Cablevision was in this instance.

Since the beginning of the now seven-day blackout, 43 percent of the 7.5 million homes in the New York market have been without Fox.  In addition to primetime programming, local news, and one Giants football game, these Cablevision customers have missed out on five games of the NLCS and last Sunday’s Cowboys-Vikings matchup.

With the World Series looming on Oct. 27 and Nov. 2′s election day not too far behind, Fox appears to be at risk of losing some significant ratings numbers and, of course, some major dollars.  Cablevision is also not in the clear as many New Yorkers may soon choose to take their business to another provider.  Stay tuned folks…

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