Tuesday, November 5, 2013

CNN's slide continues; Fox News dominates

The original cable news network isn't faring all that well against competition, pulling in the lowest primetime average viewing in the last year.  For the Oct. 28 - Nov. 1 week, CNN averaged just 385,000 viewers for its prime time block, and only 95,000 in the prime news demographic of 25-54 year-olds.  Putting that into context, Fox News Channel averaged nearly 2 million more viewers in primetime (2,367,000), and pulled almost as many viewers in the prime demo (377,000) as CNN had in total.  MSNBC was a distant second in the ratings, averaging 683,000 viewers in primetime, and 150,000 in the key demo.  To make things worse for CNN's Jeff Zucker, CNN managed to just bet CNN's Headline News in weekly average audience (by some 6,000 viewers), and actually came in 5th on Wednesday for the key demo group, trailing both Headline News and CNBC.  The 25-54 daily ratings for Oct. 30th: FOXN 396,000; MSNBC 127,000; HLN 93,000; CNBC 79,000; CNN 67,000; Fox Business 4,000 (Al Jazeera America still doesn't pull enough viewers to make the daily Nielsen ratings).

Fox News' revamped evening news line-up powered its dominance in the monthly primetime ratings.  Newcomer The Kelly File soared to the number 2 show on cable news.  Audience numbers for Fox are up more than 20% in both total audience and in the key 25-54 demo following the launch of the new primetime schedule in early October. In fact, Fox News primetime's line-up were 9 of the top 10 shows on cable news, and its 2.12 million average primetime viewers made Fox News the third-most watched cable network in October, trailing only ESPN and TBS (which benefited from carrying MLB baseball playoffs).  Coming in tops isn't new for Fox, October marks the 141st straight month topping primetime cable news ratings (despite regular predictions of FNC's imminent collapse among more liberal news outlets).  But October's numbers also reveal its growing dominance - Fox News averaged more viewers for its 7-11 PM primetime than did CNN, MSNBC, and HLN combined.

Maybe there's something more to that "Fair and Balanced" idea than Fox's critics have been willing to credit.  That, or Zucker's revamp of CNN isn't working at all and its corporate owners will be looking for a new President for CNN.  (MSNBC is posting higher growth rates, but that's partly a result of it's ratings collapse after the 2012 elections).

Sources -  TV Ratings: CNN Suffers Worst Week Under Jeff Zucker,  Hollywood Reporter
Fox Tops October Cable News Ratings with Revamped Primetime; 'The Kelly File' Ends First Month in No. 2 Spot Behind O'Reilly,  Deadline Hollywood

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