Wednesday's Republican YouTube Debate has come and gone, and with few glitches. Sapphire will be covering the content of the debate in her post on Thursday night. She'll also have more of the wonderful high res photos. I must say we aren't a very balanced blog team when it comes to politics so we'll leave it to our Canadian blogger to do the analysis of the Republicans.
The Realities of the Ratings: What Makes Our Eyes Glaze Over…
It would be so nice if the media companies would get real when they issue press releases for the month performance (considering the November sweep isn’t even over yet and everyone eliminates Thanksgiving Day from their ratings analysis).
“It may have only been by 2,000 viewers but MSNBC topped CNN in the A25-54 demo in sales prime (7pmET-2amET) for the month. That includes CNN's huge night Nov. 15 airing the Democratic debate in Las Vegas.”
Big boast by MSNBC, yes? The only trouble is:
The ad industry doesn’t recognize MSNBC’s “sales prime” time period of 7PM – 2AM.
2,000 Adults 25-54 is completely within Nielsen’s margin of error.
The real audience figure that counts is 8-11PM, Monday - Sunday*
CNN: 629,000 Adults 25-54 +29% advantage over MSNBC
MSNBC: 449,000 Adults 25-54
CNN: 756,000 2+ Total Audience +27% advantage over MSNBC
MSNBC: 555,000 2+ Total Audience
*Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Basic Cable Ranking Channels; 10/29/07 – 11/25/07; Live + Same Day.
Can I also say that I checked in on a Bill O’Reilly program just to see what his reruns were up to (he took the week off after visiting the troops over the weekend in Afghanistan). It was startling and troubling to say the least. He said, and I quote, “I just report the news; I just tell the news here.” Excuse me? Bill O’Reilly’s program is classified as informational/commentary. It is never classified as news unless the program is taken over by a breaking news story such as the California fires. The only Fox News programs in the evening which remotely qualify as news is Shepard Smith’s (7PM) and Brit Hume’s (6PM). Both programs still are considered by the industry to be very slanted in their positioning of the news, but in fairness, they are considered news programming. Not the case for Hannity & Colmes, John Gibson and his new side-kick, Heather Nauert and on several occasions, GRETA. Tucker, Hardball or Abrams on MSNBC are also not considered news programming. One would have to give COUNTDOWN an emphasis on news, but there are several satirical features, mud-slinging at Fox News and special commentaries by Keith Olbermann. Real “hard news” - hard to find on cable…
Okay, so can we now start with the ratings analysis now that I pointed that huge, over the top statement released to the media by MSNBC.
Not too much to say as programming on all the channels was very weak due to many repeats and substitutions. We’re only going to look at Monday – Wednesday on everyone as Thursday – Thanksgiving was mostly rebroadcast long form programming, repeats of programs and substitute anchors. The only exception was Rick Sanchez’s look at Ellis Island in a special OUT IN THE OPEN about his family’s journey to the U.S. from Cuba.
So many regulars were not on the air that you have to look at this week as completely unrepresentative of any programming typically in the time period. No O’Reilly, Joy Behar for Larry King one night, no Lou Dobbs, no Wolf Blitzer, and no Anderson Cooper in some combination of MIA for the three days we are covering. There won’t be any reason to give you a percentage comparison of whether the program is up or down, they are all down. And LKL with Dr. Jan Adams dramatically walking off the set must have aired at least five times over the week and weekend.
Fox News: 401,000
Fox News: 314,000
Fox News: 352,000
What can I say? Lots of re-runs, rebroadcast long form programming and substitute anchors along with very low hut levels (homes using television) due to the holiday made for a very marginal week in cable programming. And yes, combining all hours of primetime, other than LKL, MSNBC and FOX News did beat CNN in primetime 8-11PM, Monday – Wednesday**:
Fox News: 356,000
It would have been worse for CNN if I included Thursday and Friday programming. The cable channel had some of its lowest audience performances on those days.
Optimistically, this week we have everyone back on their game, and the YouTube Republican Debate.
P.S. And if you have been over at ATA – you might have seen my post that 60 MINUTES was the 7th ranked broadcast program for the week, delivering over 16,000,000 total viewers – it’s been a long time since the program ranked in the Top Ten programs for the week. As Anderson Cooper has said, they are the best in the business.
**Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Adults 25-54 Live + Same Day (LS) Fast Track Nationals.