3-year high as movies account for 15% cable airtime

The quantity of movie content on U.S. basic cable hit a three-year high in 2013, accounting for nearly 15 percent of all airtime in 2013, up from 14 percent in 2011, according to a new report from IHS Technology.

However, fewer unique movies were broadcast in 2013 compared to the previous three years, indicating that films were being rerun more than ever before.

Led by films from Fox, a total of 89,623 hours of movie content was shown on U.S. basic cable in 2013. This represented an increase of 1,180 hours from 88,443 from 2011, as presented in the attached figure.

This gain is significant, especially in the context of overall movie hours being made available by the medium. Even though the total number of hours for movie content fell slightly in 2012, the airtime percentage for movies on basic cable remained nearly the same as in 2011, at roughly 14 percent.

This year, total airtime is projected to be even higher, representing an increase in both movie hours and airtime share.

“Cable networks are seeing the benefit of airing movies that get better non-primetime ratings than some TV shows during the same time slots,” says Erik Brannon, senior analyst for television media at IHS. “Drawing in viewers during non-primetime hours is proving valuable, especially during the summer months when more people are at home during the day.”

Comedy was the genre of choice in both 2012 and 2013, unseating drama, which had accounted for the largest number of hours in 2011. The most-played movie in 2013 was Fox’s 1993 release “Mrs. Doubtfire” starring Robin Williams, which was played 66 times across five networks, according to IHS data.



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