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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Last Week at a Glance by the Ratings Guru


With a documentary a year in the making, Baseball and a week of fires, television viewership for cable and broadcast was at very strong levels last week. That is the focus of our ratings analysis, not all the October analysis released today. Every channel wanted to get its positioning in, and all it did was give me a headache…and I’m used to looking at the fine points of audience ratings. Suffice it to say that CNN was up +7 percent in the 8PM-11PM time period for the key demographic of Adults 25 – 54, October 2007 versus October 2006, and that’s a good thing.

There were so many schedules changes over last week, I’ll try to look at the time periods as fairly as I can, and apply the audience delivery over the various time periods so there is a good comparison. With such “jumbled” schedules, some may have issues, but last week made us researchers cross-eyed trying to plot the audiences in a way that is fair to all channels.


When you have CNN across the board 8PM-11PM up in the 300,000+ range for Adults 25-54, you know that there is serious news breaking. That was the case on Monday night – consistency of viewership for the three hours other cable competitors could not match. Tuesday was the night that coverage put CNN in the #1 position for the key demo again for 8PM-12MD – yes, even with one hour outside of primetime – but it all started with an exceptional performance at 8PM of a special edition of AC360. AC and his staff was only 6% off of Bill O’Reilly’s audience for the key demographic of Adults 25-54. COUNTDOWN was close to a 100,000 off of 360’s audience – not exactly a close third in the time period. Wednesday through Friday audience gradually eroded, but it was still a much stronger performance for the time period even with a fairly weak LKL on Friday. Bill O’Reilly as usual, lost -26% of his key demo on Friday versus his Monday audience and -45% off of his Thursday audience with fire coverage.


FOX News: 494,000 +6% up over last week’s performance
CNN: 372,000* +48% up over last week’s performance
MSNBC: 314,000 +11% up over last week’s performance


With fire coverage solidly in this time period, this was a consistently strong hour for CNN. Most of LKL was fire coverage and the first 2 hour block of the long-awaited “Planet in Peril.” PLANET could have easily gotten lost in the wall-to-wall fire coverage, but it was able to attract all age groups, boosting CNN to 532,000 Adults 25-54 and 1,574,000 for 2+. It blew the competition off the map and the two hour special provided a tremendous lead-in for a normally weak 11PM performance for AC360. It retained much of its audience for the Wednesday night installment, even increasing a huge +37% from its 8PM lead-in program of a special AC360, delivering 503,000 Adults 25-54. Thursday’s LKL was fire coverage, dropping down to normal levels and 9PM on Friday saw “Planet” rebroadcast to a respectable audience of 202,000 Adults 25-54. 9PM for CNN for the week was basically a statistical dead heat with Fox News in the key demographic.

FOX News: 341,000 +6% up over last week’s performance
CNN: 334,000** +6% up over last week’s performance
MSNBC: 149,000*** +5% up over last week’s performance


Considering the low AC360 was coming off of from the previous Friday, Monday started out strong for the news program with building fire coverage. “Planet” on Tuesday in the time period also held onto its lead-in audience with this being the best night of the week for CNN in each of
the primetime hours. “Planet” continued to hold up on Wednesday and provided a great lead-in both nights for a special live AC360 at 11PM. Thursday at 10PM witnessed some erosion with fire coverage and Friday with a rebroadcast of “Planet,” it did solid, but average repeat ratings. The 10PM lead-in for the 11PM programming gave CNN a boost in order to have a solid, strong performance 8PM – 12MD for the week. MSNBC had good growth percentages, but it still has a long way to go to be competitive in actual audience for all nights against Fox and CNN. Regardless of whether it was AC360 or "Planet," in the 10PM time period last week, CNN won the 10PM time period beating both GRETA and MSNBC's fare.

FOX News: 329,000 +9% up over last week’s performance
CNN: 320,000**** +29% up over last week’s performance
MSNBC: 190,000 +29% up over last week’s performance

And a special note on the environmental documentary “Planet in Peril”: How much did it increase in the time period for its four hour run against the previous week Tues/Wed 9P-11PM Adults 25-54 CNN audience – try 92%!

*4 day average applied to 5 days; LKL aired Friday.
**4 day average applied to 5 days; News Programming/PIP aired in the time period.
***Dan Abrams 4 day average applied to 5 days; Abrams does not air on Fridays.
****AC360 2 day average applied to five days; PIP aired on three days.
^Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Adults 25-54 LIVE + SAME DAY (LS) Fast Track Nationals.

1 comment:

Sapphire said...

Way to go CNN and more specifically Planet in derserve it for all the hard work that went into PiP.

Thanks Ratings Guru!!!!!