The Online Battle of the Broadcast Networks

With the major broadcast networks wrapping up their regular TV seasons before the summer break, TV ratings continue to grow as audiences tune in to catch the season ending cliffhangers. There will be clear defined ratings winners but will that translate into increased site traffic for the broadcast networks? As more and more viewers have started to go online to watch their favorite shows they also have been interacting with show content on the major broadcasting websites which includes ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX.

As the regular broadcast season comes to a close I wonder which of these networks will be victorious in attaining the greatest traction online. Will the networks that top the ratings charts also be the leaders in driving traffic to their network sites? The chart below takes a look at unique visits to the broadcast sites through March and it is ABC.com that is the leader.

Looking back to the previous year’s finale season in May 2009, it was again ABC that led the network sites in unique visits. I am sure ABC’s mega-hits Lost and Dancing with the Stars have contributed a great deal to the results we are seeing. The most surprising finding is the unique visits on FOX.com which have been mediocre in comparison to ABC.com. Taking into consideration the high ratings of American Idol and Glee, it comes as a big surprise to me that we are not seeing similar jumps in attention to that of ABC.com. This finding leads me to pose the question, what is ABC doing better than FOX at capturing their TV viewing audience’s attention online?