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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Ratings for the Week of April 3, 2009

Ratings for the week April 6, 2009 - April 10, 2009

Adults 25-54
MSNBC371,500 1
Adults 25-54
Adults 25-54
MSNBC192,750 1

During the 8PM hour, HLN had the second highest average demographic rating for the week. MSNBC 's ratings (four day average) were all over the place with one second place, two third place and one fourth place, but when averaged, they manage to hold onto third place for the week. CNN, although still coming in fourth place, had a better week with two third place finishes Thursday and Friday).

At 9PM, MSNBC and CNN split second and third place through the week with MSNBC coming out on top with the second highest average demo for the week and CNN coming in a close third. HLN was consistently fourth.

Things are pretty boring ratings wise during the 10PM hour, each network had the same ranking for all five days: CNN - second; HLN - third; and MSNBC - fourth.

I skipped over the top spot on purpose - FOX once again swept 8PM - 11PM all five days last week with the highest demographic Adults 25 - 54 ratings.

1 4 night average used for MSNBC 8PM and 10PM. Thursday night ratings excluded - special programming aired.

^ Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Demographics where noted; Live + Same Day (LS) Fast Track Nationals.

One ratings related article for you this week... from Variety:

Depending on how you spin cable news ratings, these are either the best of times or the worst of times for CNN.

The oldest, and by purist standards, the most prestigious cable news network, the channel's full, 24-hour schedule has achieved ratings growth of late, attracting viewers with an increasingly rare nonpartisan approach to news and information.

However, CNN is losing ground competitively in primetime, where rivals continue to successfully carve out turf with strong, polarizing voices, including Fox News' Bill O'Reilly, the biggest ratings beast in the cable news game right now.

Coming out of a big election year for the network that culminated with it finishing second in rating behind only NBC on the November night Barack Obama was elected to the presidency, CNN was down significantly in primetime during the first quarter of this year.

From January through March, the news net saw a 23% drop in its core demographic of adults 25-54 from 8 to 11 p.m., and a 10% audience drop in total viewers during that daypart. Its "Campbell Brown: No Bias, No Bull" lost soundly at 8 o'clock while going against the expressly biased likes of O'Reilly and MSNBC's Keith Olbermann.

The once-heated race with its more ideologically defined rival, Fox News, has officially sunk right off the pier.

Meanwhile Fox, up 25% in total primetime viewership in the first quarter, and trailing only USA Network for the entire basic-cable kingdom, says it now views broad-reach entertainment networks like USA and TNT as the real ratings competish (despite the fact that, privately, Fox News officials still take shots at CNN any chance they get).

In fact, these days, CNN finds itself in a race with a channel it wouldn't have even imagined as competition just a few years ago: MSNBC. During the first quarter, MSNBC overtook CNN in primetime viewership among adults 25-54 for the first time in its 12-plus years of existence.

"You have to give credit to MSNBC," says Carat USA media buyer Andy Donchin. "Olbermann and Rachel Maddow are pulling nice numbers in primetime. I think the story is more how well MSNBC is doing as opposed to how not well CNN is doing."

No doubt MSNBC's ratings are improved, but CNN is hearing primetime newsie footsteps these days even from within its Turner Networks family. Headline News is up 64% in the 25-54 demo in the first quarter, trailing CNN by less than 100,000 viewers, driven in primetime by personalities including the Caylee Anthony-fixated Nancy Grace.

And Headline News clearly has the momentum: For the month of March, it topped CNN among adults 25-54 on 16 of 22 weeknights.

For their part, CNN officials say any poor year-to-year primetime ratings comparison in the first quarter largely stemmed from the fact that January-March period in 2008 included four highly rated presidential primary debates that were exclusively covered by the channel. (By comparison, Fox News ran only two of these big ratings events during the same period.)

Meanwhile, CNN contends that its regular primetime shows -- "Campbell Brown" "Larry King Live" and "Anderson Cooper 360" -- were all flat or up slightly vs. the timeslots in 2008.

The channel's brass say the primetime plunge isn't really a problem. They boast that the just-completed first quarter was their most successful since the halcyon days of their 1991 Gulf War coverage, with total viewership across all dayparts actually up 17%.

"Primetime is most meaningful to entertainment networks," says CNN U.S. prexy Jonathan Klein, noting that his channel sells its commercial time in a more bundled, multiplatform way that differs from most cable networks, which deal more in the typical currency of primetime ratings points.

"We sell against all of our platforms -- TV, online, international -- and it's hard to say there's one particular daypart or hour of the day that matters more," says Klein, who notes that CNN has generated double-digit revenue growth in each of the last five years.

This may be true, but primetime is where every network spends the big bucks for talent and other resources.

And despite assertions otherwise, CNN's recent drop during TV's most-watched hours does represent a "significant issue" for the channel, says one ad-agency TV buyer. "You can't crow about being the most-watched cable news network on election night, then later on say primetime doesn't matter."

Some say that while Fox News and MSNBC have carved out sizable audience niches with strong, partisan personalities like Sean Hannity and O'Reilly, CNN's "no bias" approach is getting lost in the shuffle.

"I do think that in primetime, it has to be news plus," says MSNBC president Phil Griffin. "When you have so many outlets for news, there has to be a little more."

Still, despite CNN's weaker competitive standing, particularly at 8 p.m., Klein doesn't believe there's a need for a strategy to renovate the cabler's primetime lineup. Rather, he says CNN's first-quarter growth throughout the total day suggests it's finding its own unique niche in supplying unbiased news during a time when auds are clearly hungry for information about the economy and other matters.

"It's very possible that multiple cable channels could all see their best quarters in years at the same time," Klein says. "We don't cannibalize each other's audiences anymore. ... Our competition doesn't have the resources to cover the news the way we do. They've actually ceded news coverage to us."

Just a reminder... tomorrow is April 15th. For those of you in the US- that means Federal Tax Day.

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Anonymous said...

It is funny to me that the press fails to mention
that Nancy Grace is also beating Countdown.
That said CNN can not continue with it;s
7-10pm programs they are not bringing in
viewers. Time is not on their side.

Anonymous said...

Until Jon Klein wakes up and realizes that
Campbell Brown and Lou Dobbs are major
league downers for CNN the ratings will go
down and down. Rachel Maddow's motto mind
over chatter is directed right at CNN. Quit
dumbing down the news.Tweets will not bring
you good ratings but content will. Making CNN
standout from the others as the news alternative
will. People are so over the pundits and talk
radio crowd , so when will you realized it is
the 21st century and the not the 90's ?
Use your journalists and the Time Warner
properties it is an informational arsenal.Do you
guys read newspapers and magazines or books?
Because it seems as though you are getting
your news from talk radio and ideological
blogs. Boring to the max. You are misusing
technology in a very bad way. If I can not
see real time comments on the scene from
all the outlets you use what is the point ?
Reading selected comments is lame.
I thought the Situation Room was supposed
to be the merging of old school and new
web journalism. What happened?
Finally,respect your viewers by not insulting
their intelligence with misinformation. At
this rate you will not be the most trusted
name is news.

Anonymous said...

Please HLN move Showbiz Tonight to
9 pm. It will likely help them and CNN.
Showbiz is beating the Maddow repeat.

Anonymous said...

Hey you guys should check out Silicon Alley
Insider. The site has an interesting item about
CNN.It appears CNN did not own their own
CNNbrk on twitter. The one that is getting close
to the million followers mark. Someone at TW
finally woke up and bought the account.The
guy who was in charge of the CNNbrk apparently
has been talking with CNN's tech team in ATL.
Recently TW hired one of Google's top people
to handle AOL. I hope a legit social news gathering
site is on the way.If CNN really is serious about
the viewers having their say,they should take
a hint from Current. Who was actually the 1at
tv network to use Twitter for something they
dubbed hack the debate. The comments aired
live and moved upward and dissolved and did
not interfere with the picture.It was great and
they did the same thing during the Inaug.i do
think the need to have 3 boxes with comments
from Twitter,Myspace and Facebook and the
360 blog.It can be done on the left or right
side like the do with American Morning with
the weather.Or on the bottom by loosing the
crawl and moving the CNN logo and the banners
animate in between comments. Current is up
for a webby for it's innovation.Maybe CNN
needs to hire some tech savvy people who
work for Current to advise Jon Klein as to
how it is actually done and actually has a
point .