WOW! There was a flurry of opinions, commentary and criticism flying around worse than a snowstorm in Minneapolis. Luckily us researchers can just look at the audience figures and just leave it at that. You can decide with the programming presented what you think – it’s a free country and we are all entitled to our opinions. Some just “blast” theirs louder than others (like all my winter references?…just a short guess where I was last week..).
Last week was coming out of the holiday week, so there is no reason to compare this past week’s performance to the previous. It wouldn’t make any sense from a comparison standpoint, or how the industry would look at the time periods and cable competition. But unlike the Thanksgiving week, all anchors/commentators were back in action on the big three cable news outlets.
CNN once again had the strongest night on Wednesday when the Republican Debate aired from Florida. It out performed the CNN democratic debate on November 15 by 8% in total viewers and 24% in the key demographic advertising is based on – Adults 25-54. Granted, with the promotion and the “twist” on the debate being “YouTube,” CNN outperformed itself in all audience demographics from the previous debate Nov. 15, 2007. What was really encouraging was the major up tick with Adults 18-34 – 516,000 watched the debate and it was very well balanced – it had a very competitive audience under 50+ so that it wasn’t so top-heavy in Adults 50+ (advertisers aren’t keen for very old skewing programs..). So far in 2007, CNN has the top two performing debates and three out of the top five...not bad! You have seen CNN and other media sources combine the audience of the debate performance as well as its repeat audience, but we don’t do that here. It is called “cuming” an audience. It is typical in cable, but if one wants to know a true first run, first broadcast performance – how the industry measures its competitiveness, we don’t base our evaluation on cume. It can be looked at, but in comparing debate versus other debates, it is the first broadcast that is ranked – not a combined audience number of all of its broadcasts. There are a whole bunch of reasons why the industry does and doesn’t value cume, but I don’t need to get into that here. Suffice it to say, CNN did very, very well.
So let’s get into the week.^
Fox News: 491,000
Interestingly, COUNTDOWN performed well against the debate, but Billo didn’t. Humm…audience on Fox News tuned in the debate, but they didn’t in such numbers from MSNBC…does it say something about the political affiliations of the channels?...I’m Just Askin’… OUT IN THE OPEN’S strongest night before it was pre-empted by the debate was Tuesday. Tuesday was also a big night for COUNTDOWN and Bill O’Reilly, so that means television Homes Using Television (HUTS) must have been very high that night. Clearly the debate is NOT averaged in as part of OUT IN THE OPEN, but the added addition of AC360 on Friday night was a good night for the time period and not all that different from what OPEN normally does. With late-breaking news, viewers tuned in, but not enough for it to be the strongest night for OPEN. Interestingly, with the news on Friday of the New Hampshire hostage taking, Bill O’Reilly’s ratings still had the typical Friday downturn. Viewers seemed to stay with CNN and MSNBC.
Fox News: 352,000
No great changes here although LKL had a very up and down week. Monday was the strongest with Thursday being a very weak night and Friday ever so slightly bouncing back. Even Hannity & Colmes didn’t dramatically suffer on debate night. Dan Abrams actually had a dismal week with Monday and Thursday being extremely weak in addition to a disaster performance on debate night. This is a week Mr. Abrams wants to write off.
Fox News: 369,000
Ahh, yes, CNN once again coded its after-debate analysis led by Anderson Cooper as an AC360, which once again allowed it to beat GRETA for the week. Is it fair? Well, if they code it that way for Nielsen, we have the right to use it in the program’s week average. Were there other AC360 highlights? Yes, Friday’s program was the strongest program in CNN’s 8-11PM block, so we can say it was the #1 program for CNN in prime that night. It beat MSNBC’s “doc block” which sometimes it doesn’t do on Fridays – but we had increased interest out of New Hampshire trumping a crime block. AC360 did not beat GRETA Friday, but that is tough. She increases audience from her lead-in and that is something to say in cable news/information programming. Thursday is another night CNN would like to forget – even HEADLINE NEWS beat regular CNN on Thursday throughout the whole 8-11PM block, including 360.
So CNN’s strongest program for the week – AC360 with a big thanks to the debate analysis. And, oh yes, the November sweeps ended at the stroke of midnight on Wednesday, November 28 – the date of the debate? Coincidence?? I’m Just Askin’….
See you next week!
*4 day average applied to five days because of debate programming.
**4 day average applied to five days because of debate programming.
^Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Adults 25-54 LIVE + SAME DAY (LS) Fast Track Nationals.
We've got some sad news to report to ATC readers. Our long time friend and blogger, Purple Tie, is leaving the blog. There are no words for how much I am going to miss my blogging buddy. So I decided to post a picture of where she got her name, along with her letter to all of you.
Dear ATC readers:
Unfortunately, I have to leave the blog due to some personal issues in my life. I appreciate all the wonderful people here and I will miss you more than I can say. I wish everyone good luck and a Happy Holiday.