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Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ratings At A Glance

THE END OF MARCH GOES OUT LIKE A LAMB FOR CABLE NEWS/INFORMATION...But The First Quarter Audience Growth Over Last Year Is Great For CNN

With Daylight Savings Time, Spring Break and no primaries or debates, it was an average week for cable news/information channels. The first quarter of 2008 press releases are out, and because of some outstanding performances throughout January, February and March, CNN did very well in increasing its audience in the key demographic of Adults 25-54 in several hours over the course of the day. We’ll get to some of the highlights later.

Fox News: 444,000
CNN: 241,000*
MSNBC: 349,000

Everyone is down this past week in comparison to the week prior. And let’s face it – the week of March 17-21 had some breaking news stories, so this would not be unusual. Monday and Wednesday were Billo’s strongest days. COUNTDOWN had a great Monday but a Keith-less Friday was ‘way off the average, and his high point on Monday. CNN’s SPECIAL INVESTIGATION on Friday actually performed better than Campbell Brown’s political program Monday – Thursday, but audiences are still settling into that program and she had a good Tuesday.

Fox News: 437,000
CNN: 268,000
MSNBC: 166,000

Yes, HANNITY & COMLES almost equaled Bill O’Reilly’s audience this past week. LKL took a little bit of a hit in audience loss this week and MSNBC even suffered further with VERDICT. Now again, keep in mind, audiences need to sample and make a decision about the new Dan Abrams format, so this programming is still in the process of finding an audience.

Fox News: 332,000
CNN: 246,000
MSNBC: 160,000

Well, GRETA had an average week, but it topped 360, but 360 topped the newly instituted rebroadcast of COUNTDOWN. Previously there would be some weeks where MSNBC’s “docbloc” would be very competitive to 360, so this change so far is not for the better for MSNBC. It does give COUNTDOWN more sampling and the ability for MSNBC to do some combining of audience to boast about the delivery, but I view reruns separate than first run. Again, this is a new program switch, so it make take viewers time to realize the program can be watched at a later hour. For the time being, AC360 battles it out for first place with GRETA. 360 tends to be more political based and GRETA has focused quite a bit on guest interviews and fairly sensational crime stories.


First quarter releases are based on First Quarter 2008 versus First Quarter 2007. Primetime – 8-11PM Monday – Sunday includes all programming which aired in that time period block regardless of the actual program. For individual primetime hours, CNN has calculated the figures based on regularly scheduled programs in that time period, but it can include special editions of the telecast. In many instances, particularly with AC360, the programs had several post-debate and primary coverage special editions. Those are included in the hour average for the quarter as they were coded as such, submitted and approved by Nielsen.
Courtesy: CNN
So CNN’s version of the Verdict:

TOTAL AUDIENCE, 2+; CNN Primetime; 1st Quarter 2008 versus 1st Quarter 2007:^
Primetime 8-11PM Monday – Sunday: +64%
Primetime 8-11PM Monday – Friday: +70%
Primetime 8-9PM Monday – Friday: +70%
Primetime 9-10PM Monday – Friday: +1%
Primetime 10-11PM Monday – Friday: +51%

Courtesy: CNN

TOTAL AUDIENCE 2+; CNN Highlights Outside of Primetime; 2008 versus 2007:^
American Morning 6AM-9AM: +11%
Situation Room 4PM-5PM: +13%
Situation Room 5PM-6PM: +17%
Situation Room 6PM-7PM: -4%
Lou Dobbs Tonight 7PM-8PM: +58%
Courtesy: CNN

ADULTS 25-54; CNN Primetime; 1st Quarter 2008 versus 2007:^
Primetime 8-11PM Monday – Sunday: +87%
Primetime 8-11PM Monday – Friday: +97%
Primetime 8-9PM Monday – Friday: +74%
Primetime 9-10PM Monday – Friday: +10%
Primetime 10-11PM Monday – Friday: +60%

ADULTS 25-54; CNN Highlights Outside of Primetime; 1st Quarter 2008 versus 2007:^
American Morning 6AM-9AM: EQUAL
Situation Room 4PM-5PM: +2%
Situation Room 5PM-6PM: +6%
Situation Room 6PM-7PM: EQUAL
Lou Dobbs Tonight 7PM-8PM: +46%

A great quarter for CNN and its political coverage. ~RATINGS GURU

^Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Demographics where noted; Live + Same Day (LS); Fast Track Nationals and Final Audience Figures for 1st Quarter.
*4 day Average; CNN Special Investigation aired on Friday.

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Anonymous said...

Ratings Guru I wish people would point out
Mon-Fri MSNBC rarely tops CNN in the demo.
It is on weekends when MSNBC runs 3 hours
of Lockup that causes their numbers to jump.
CNN really need to develop some cool weekend

Ratingsguru said...

Anon@10:17AM - I agree CNN needs to strengthen their weekend programming to attract tune-in. They have done fairly well this first quarter which is why they can say #1, 8-11PM Monday - SUNDAY - but it is due in large part to political coverage.

Anonymous said...

As an average prime time viewer of CNN and AC 360, the 60% surge in large part is due to election coverage. In Anderson Cooper's own words he said recently that "Election coverage was the best thing to happen to cable news, especially this election." I agree. It is what happens following the elections that will be the deciding factor for CNN and whether it can sustain its momentum.