image courtesy of CNN
American Morning's John Roberts anchored from the Reagan Library in Simi Valley, California on Wednesday morning. The site made for an excellent backdrop for AM and for CNN's Republican Debates. Thanks to BA for the clips of JR giving us the grand tour of Air Force One and the Oval Office.
Scott Zamost, an investigative journalist who has won nearly every major broadcast journalism award for his hard-hitting reports, has joined CNN as an investigative producer in Atlanta, CNN announced on Wednesday. Zamost most recently was the investigative producer for WTVJ-TV/NBC 6 in Miami.
His awards include a national award from Investigative Reporters and Editors and a National Press Club award in 2007; two National Clarion awards for investigative reporting; four Edward R. Murrow awards; three National Headliner awards; numerous state, regional and national awards from the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists and 23 Emmy awards and 43 Emmy nominations.
CABLE RANKINGS, TWO DEBATES, AND PRIMARY COVERAGE
WHAT MORE COULD YOU WANT ON CABLE NEWS/INFORMATION?
Yup, cable news/information channels each can have a story this week with a debate and primary coverage and regular programming averages. On top of that, cable channels issued their January ratings press releases, and if you look at all of them, you would think everyone won. Well, everyone did have some great highlights thanks to the interest in the political climate, the writer’s strike and special programming even on the weekends.
Over the last six months, the cable news/information channel wars have heated up, and even internet sites can take sides. But let’s point out the positives for CNN, because there are many.
CNN has stated their goal is to be the “go-to” channel in 2008 for politics. When it comes to primary coverage and debates, they are succeeding. For the first time in a very, very long time, they ranked #7 of the Top 20 cable programs last week with the Democratic Debate on January 21, 2008. Cable news/information channels rarely rank in the Top 20 Cable programs due to the way Nielsen issues them – based on total viewers 2+. Trust me when I say there are a lot of “twoplusers” who watch SPONGBOB SQUAREPANTS – like 10 of the Top 20 program slots were taken by that show.
CNN is the strongest cable channel in delivering debate audiences. It has five of the Top 10 debates for the 2007-08 primary season, with the Jan. 21, 2008 debate being the strongest debate audience of any cable channel since 1996.
CNN delivered double the Adult 18-34 audience versus the strongest Fox News debate (1/10/2008) and close to triple MSNBC’s (1/24/08) best performance with the young demographic.
CNN doubled Fox News’ best performance for Adults 18-49 with this debate and was almost 2 and ½ times the delivery of MSNBC.
CNN South Carolina Democratic Debate audience, Monday, Jan. 21, 2008:^
8PM – 10:05PM:
Adults 2+: 4,910,000
Adults 25-54: 1,997,000
Adults 18-49: 1,800,000
Adults 18-34: 789,000
Now, there will be some who will tell you that the preferred demographic in news is Adults 25-54, not 18-49 or 18-34. Well, while it’s true that news/information skews old, it is a PLUS to an advertiser to deliver the very sought after demographic of Adults 18-49. It is a key demographic in the advertising world, period. And for a news channel to deliver a decent amount of Adults 18-34 – well it’s just another plus. There are no negatives in delivering a younger audience – far more valuable than delivering a 55+ audience - ask any advertiser. Consider what Adults 25-54 means. Only 5 years of that age group falls outside Adults 18-49 – the gold standard in demographic delivery, regardless of channel or network. And anytime a cable channel can reach all age groups with political information that might encourage younger age groups to become involved in the process - that is a good thing – not something to be dismissed. Thank you, but I’ll take all the 18-34 and any 18-49 I can get in news audiences.
We’ll now cover regular programming, the primary coverage on Saturday Jan. 26, 2008 and brief comments on the month (because we cover the channels every week):
REGULAR PROGRAMMING – Jan. 21 – 25, 2008:^
Fox News: 506,000
This is a time period for CNN that has its ups and downs. With two Lou Dobbs specials this week, and an uneven performance with the new Election Center, this is still not the strongest time period for CNN. But, ELECTION CENTER is up about 11% from last week’s performance. Bill O’Reilly continues to take the time period with COUNTDOWN a strong second.
Fox News: 400,000
Lots of special programming pre-empted regular programming for this hour, but LKL had an outstanding performance on Tuesday night – 572,000 versus his weekly average of 382,000. The week prior, LKL’s weekly average was 323,000 – so that Tuesday performance was well above what the program normally delivers for Adults 25-54. CNN took some blog hits that they fell substantially from the Monday debate performance. All regular programming falls from event programming. However, the Tuesday performance was 67% HIGHER than LKL’s regular program average. He was far and away the #1 program in the competitive 9PM time period Tuesday. Was it a “bump” from the prior night’s debate? In all likelihood, it was the late breaking news of the tragic death of Heath Ledger. HANNITY & COLMES had a good week and with Dan Abrams only airing three times that week, brought up the rear.
Fox News: 374,000
On the surface, yes, AC360 beat GRETA substantially last week with the strength of the post debate analysis on Monday being classified as a 360 and the strong performance of the program the next night. Tuesday, while it fell from the Monday debate analysis, once again like LKL, it was far stronger than its normal audience delivery. Tuesday’s 360 soundly beat GRETA by 86,000 viewers – that’s a lot in anyone’s book. While I don’t think it is really fair to code debate analysis with the same debate staff as a “360,” Nielsen has accepted it, so I have averaged it in. I have given you the excluded average in the footnotes so you can see the difference. We are all dependent on how channels code their programming and if Nielsen accepts it, that decides it, not me. MSNBC programming came in last with its “docbloc.”
Program Note: MSNBC also had a Republican debate on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008 and was their strongest debate delivery to date for this channel. Its 2+ audience was 2,636,000 (far off of CNN’s Monday Democratic debate average) and was #1 in the 9PM-11PM time period.
South Carolina Primary Coverage, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2008: ^
Once again, CNN led the primary coverage of the South Carolina Primary on Saturday for Adults 25-54. They were edged out of a 2+ win by Fox News, but had a higher audience peak of primary coverage than Fox News for the entire evening at 9PM with 1,917,000 viewers over Fox News’ 1,365,000.
Primary Coverage 6PM – 10PM; Adults 25-54:^
Fox News: 434,000
CNN has made real inroads in audience delivery particularly in the 9PM and 10PM hours in primetime for Adults 25-54. With a strong debate, primary and regular programming, it paid off for 360 to be able to win the 10PM TIME PERIOD BLOCK against GRETA – 382,000 versus 360,000. It was a real high point for CNN and we’ll see if it keeps up this year.
CNN far and away had the best debate delivery for Adults 25-54, Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49 and Total audience 2+ for debates which aired in January, 2008 (there was one for each channel – Fox News, CNN and MSNBC).
CNN has the top three debates in cable news history in Total Audience 2+, Adults 18-34, Adults 18-49 and Adults 25-54.
There were several other TIME PERIOD advantages that CNN had, but they were based on time period averages for Monday – Friday or Monday – Sunday. We tend to look at programs unless I specify it is a time period average. In any case, CNN had a great January.
Whew! See you next week!
*4 day average; debate aired Monday; includes two Lou Dobbs election specials – Tues/Fri.
**4 day average; debate aired Monday.
***3 day average; “Docbloc” airs Fri; debate aired Thur.
+Includes Special AC360 debate analysis Monday versus regular program average of 373,000.
****4 day average; debate aired Thur.
^Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Adults 25-54 and other audience where noted; Live + Same Day (LS); Fast Track Nationals.
Thanks, as always to our Ratings Guru and I'll see you back here next week. ~ Phebe