Wisconsin, Hawaii and Washington State Primaries and
Democratic Debate – Austin, TX Feb. 21
But, the key demographic of Adults 25-54 continue to tune to CNN as the channel of choice for primary and debate coverage.
Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2008 Wisconsin, Hawaii, Washington State Primaries/Caucus 9-11PM:^
Fox News: 692,000
All channels aired regular programming at 8PM, which is why we have not included it in the average. While CNN with ELECTION CENTER did feature all political coverage with a build up to the primary coverage, COUNTDOWN and BILL O’REILLY also featured substantial political stories and commentary by contributors.
What drove the CNN coverage? A very strong showing at 10PM for the special coded AC360. 255,000 more viewers 25-54 tuned into AC360 versus YOU DECIDE on Fox News. As expected, there was even more of a disparity between CNN at 10PM and MSNBC’s “SPECIAL COVERAGE – 272,000 audience advantage for CNN. What is surprising is how close MSNBC came to beating Fox News in the key demo – only off by 17,000 viewers. This difference in audience is within the Nielsen statistical margin of error - +/-3%.
A couple of other side notes: The number #1 program in all of primetime 8PM-11PM Tuesday night – SPECIAL AC 360 with 952,000 viewers 25-54.
CNN beat Fox News in Total Audience 2+ in only the 10PM hour of primary coverage, but beat MSNBC handily by 613,000 Total Audience 2+.
However, even more telling is how the 8PM programming turned out, and it deserves showing:
Bill O’Reilly: 570,000
CNN ELECTION CENTER: 609,000
Yup, your eyes are not deceiving you – CNN beat Bill O’Reilly in the key demographic of Adults 25-54. Audiences clearly expected primary coverage to start at 8PM because this is an enormous increase in the time period for CNN, not seen since its SUPER TUESDAY coverage on Feb. 5.
Thursday, February 21, 2008 Austin, TX Democratic Debate, 8P-9:44PM; Adults 25-54:^
Fox News: 449,000*
CNN DEBATE: 2,986,000
CNN DEBATE Total Audience 2+: 7,576,000
Americans are watching debates in record numbers, particularly on CNN. To be fair, Fox News and MSNBC’s numbers are time period averages of their regular programming. However, at 10PM, MSNBC went into post-debate coverage and increased 359% from 117,000 to 420,000 for Adults 25-54. MSNBC didn’t quite beat Fox News, but came very close – only 11,000 Adults 25-54 difference.
HOWEVER, CNN far and away took the night with the debate and a post-debate Special AC 360 analysis. 360 delivered almost 1.3 million viewers 25-54 years old which far surpassed Fox News and MSNBC.
This debate ranks 3rd for the entire debate season which began in April 2007. The top ranking debate is still the primetime ABC Democratic debate which was rerun on CNN and the #2 ranking debate is CNN’s historic (for cable) Democratic Debate on Jan. 31, 2008 in Los Angeles.
CNN now has 6 of the top 10 debates for this long 2007-08 debate season.
Even BROKEN GOVERNMENT easily took the time period for CNN at 11PM Eastern in comparison to post-debate coverage on MSNBC and a rerun of Bill O’Reilly on Fox News.
All in all, a great Tuesday primetime and another great debate for CNN on Thursday.
^Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; demographics noted; Live + Same Day (LS), Fast Track Nationals.
*Time period averages only.