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Mid-Year Viewership Report: ESPN, HGTV, USA, TBS and TNT

With the first half of 2019 officially over, we partnered with Inscape, the TV data company with glass-level insights from a panel of more than 11 million smart TVs, to take examine topline trends for five of the biggest cable networks: ESPN, HGTV, USA Network, TBS and TNT. The data below covers Jan. 1 through June 30. We were particularly interested in the overlap between the viewers of these nets, and where, regionally speaking, their core audiences live.

Key Insights

  • There were high rates of viewership crossover between TBS and TNT, which makes sense given that those were two of the biggest networks for the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament. 
  • With some exceptions, viewership hot spots trended towards the Southeast, East Coast and Midwest
  • Despite airing much of the 2019 NCAA Basketball Tournament, syndicated shows were more popular with TBS-viewing households. 

Viewership Crossover*

  • At the high end of crossover rates: 72% of TBS viewers also tuned into TNT
  • 71% of USA viewers tuned into TNT and 69% to TBS
  • 71% of ESPN viewers tuned into TNT, but only 64% tuned into TBS
  • At the low end: only 45% of both ESPN and TNT viewers had watched HGTV; only 47% of TBS fans watched HGTV
Via Inscape

Viewer Location

  • TBS viewership skews toward the eastern half of the country.
  • The Northeast and Southeast United States tuned into USA Network more heavily than other locations. 
  • Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi tuned in heavily to ESPN. 
  • For HGTV, viewership DMA hotspots included Panama City, FL; Myrtle Beach-Florence, SC; Wilmington, NC; Presque Isle, ME; and Traverse City-Cadillac, MI. 
  • One of TNT’s key DMAs was Myrtle Beach-Florence, SC.
Via Inscape

What These Viewers Were Watching the Most

  • ESPN: SportsCenter, College Basketball, NBA Basketball, Pardon the Interruption and First Take 
  • HGTV: House Hunters, Fixer Upper, Love It or List It, My Lottery Dream Home and Property Brothers
  • USA Network: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Modern Family, NCIS and Chicago P.D. (all in syndication)
  • TBS: Friends, The Big Bang Theory, Family Guy, The King of Queens and American Dad (all in syndication)
  • TNT: NBA Basketball, Supernatural, Charmed, NCIS: New Orleans and Bones

*A note about methodology: You have to do more than just flip past a station with your remote to count as a “crossover viewer” in Inscape’s system. For the data above, the minimum viewing threshold is 10 minutes. 

Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that House is one of the most-watched shows for USA Network. It has been removed from the list.

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