It was a huge night for CNN on Tuesday and last week, with the debates, was a major win too. Even with an objective analysis from our Ratings Guru there is no denying that CNN is on a roll!
images by E.M. Pio-Roda for CNN (R) 2008
CNN “SUPER” IN VIEWERSHIP FOR SUPER TUESDAY
Tuesday, February 5, 2008; 8PM-11PM Primetime; Adults 25-54:^
Fox News: 1,094,000
Tuesday, February 5, 2008; 8PM-11PM Primetime; Total Audience 2+:^
Fox News: 3,494,000
Tuesday, February 5, 2008; 6PM-1AM Full Night Coverage; Adults 25-54:^*
Fox News: 861,000
Tuesday, February 5, 2008; 6PM-1AM Full Night Coverage; Total Audience 2+:^*
Fox News: 2,644,000
Regardless of any television critic’s analysis of how the big three cable news/information channels coverage, for the media and television industries, the tale is in the numbers. CNN could not have performed better in the traditional 8PM-11PM primetime time period accepted by the industry, or with the actual coverage time of 6PM-1AM. CNN was far and away the dominant carrier in the key demographic of Adults 25-54 and in the widest possible audience of Total Audience 2+. This is not only good for the cable channels, it is good that the U.S. is interested in the presidential race. The broadcast networks had such differing coverage times, there is not an acceptable way to equate them in research terms. The Broadcast networks combined delivered around 15.5 million Total Audience 2+ viewers with their varying coverage times. Fox News should be very concerned that its 25-54 audience in both primetime and full night coverage was barely ahead of MSNBC. CNN had NO worries in any category – they had a 432,000 Adults 25-54 advantage 8PM-11PM against FOX and 443,000 advantage in the same demographic for the full night coverage. It was almost the same advantage for Full Night coverage in the key demographic, but tightened considerably in Total Audience 2+.
A HUGE NIGHT for CNN no matter how you look at it.
^Courtesy Nielsen Media Research; Demos noted; LIVE + SAME DAY (LS); Fast Track Nationals.
*Audience noted is LIVE only; Fast Track Nationals.
Wow! What a week! The State of the Union on Monday, the South Carolina Primary Tuesday, The California Republican Debate Wednesday, The California Democratic Debate Thursday and of course, everyone recapped on Friday!
The big news that came out today - the Top 20 Cable Programs issued weekly by Nielsen. Well, the best CNN has done in a long time was the South Carolina Democratic debate on Jan. 21. Excuse me, the program rankings from last week just came out and here are the highlights for CNN:
TOP 20 CABLE PROGRAMS, Total Audience 2+ for week ending February 3, 2008:
#1 – CNN California Democratic Debate – Jan. 31, 2008
#2 – ANDERSON COOPER 360 Special Program (debate analysis) Jan. 31, 2008
#10 – ANDERSON COOPER 360 Special Program (10PM) Jan. 31, 2008
#15 – CNN California Republican Debate – Jan. 30, 2008
Fox News had two programs in the Top 20, MSNBC had none. Well done CNN!
Courtesy: The New York Times
CNN’s control room above could not have been busier with the schedule of events that happened last week. How did CNN do? Pretty outstanding – which is good news for educating viewers on choices coming up on critical SUPER TUESDAY. Clearly all cable viewership is up, but the key demo for event programming is being taken by CNN. We won’t print the photo of Jon Klein, president of CNN domestic news who The New York Times identified as “Joe Klein” in one of their photos of the news channel. Whoopsie to “The Gray Lady’s” (The Times’ nickname) photo cut line personnel and fact checkers…
It’s almost pointless to average the weekly performance of the channels with so much event programming, so we’ll give you the highlights and which channel did best (or not) with each event.
Monday, 9-11PM SOTU Coverage, Adults 25-54^:
Fox News: 1,235,500
Not surprisingly, Fox News took the night, hands down with the coverage of the State of the Union address. Not to be partisan, but let’s be realistic. Fox News has conservative positioning, and it would make sense that Republicans and conservatives would watch the channel’s coverage. Cable lost a great deal of potential news audience to the broadcast networks as ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox all carried the SOTU to a estimated 15 million broadcast viewers, combined. The broadcast ratings can’t be exact because when broadcast networks do not air commercials in programming, Nielsen doesn’t rate it. We’re going by the demographics in the SOTU time period only – so the number is my estimate. It is somewhat less than what the broadcast nets perform, mainly because of the writer’s strike has affected network programming, but with competition for delivering news, the nets had an impact on cable channels.
Tuesday, 8-10PM SOUTH CAROLINA PRIMARY coverage, Adults 25-54^:
Fox News: 750,000
What is really interesting is the bump MSNBC gets from its analysis coverage utilizing NBC network news personnel – Brian Williams, Tim Russert, Andrea Mitchell, David Gregory as well as MSNBC regulars Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann. MSNBC usually trails CNN and Fox News in political coverage, but this night increased in the 2nd hour of coverage by 19%. While it didn’t top CNN’s increase at 9PM over its 8PM delivery – 21%, it is significant. More interestingly Fox News only increased 6% in the 9PM hour over their 8PM performance even though they were #1 for the 8-10PM block.
Wednesday, 8-10PM LOS ANGELES REPUBLICAN DEBATE, Adults 25-54^:
Fox News: 446,000*
Hands down, Republican or not viewers tuned in, in large numbers to watch the debate from the Reagan Library. In an unusual move, MSNBC with both COUNTDOWN and DAN ABRAMS covered the debate and provided analysis afterward. This was a first for a competing channel to cover another’s debate.
With Anderson Cooper anchoring a special AC360 immediately following the debate, CNN held onto its substantial lead of audience for the night, with 10PM – 11PM audience of 788,000 viewers, Adults 25-54. It was more than double GRETA’s audience and more than triple MSNBC’s “Hardball” debate analysis.
Thursday, 8-10PM LOS ANGELES DEMOCRATIC DEBATE, Adults 25-54^:
Courtesy: The New York Times
I need to make a couple of comments about the above photo from Page One of “The New York Times.” First off, CNN couldn’t BUY that like of brand recognition from a Page One photo – it is a promotion dream for the channel to be so identified. But, many of my friends and colleagues after watching the debate and seeing the photo the next day said it looked like “Weekend Update” from SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE. The debate was described by The Times as almost a “press conference” rather than a debate in comparison to the “slugfest” these two had the week before in South Carolina.
This is the juggernaut day for CNN versus the other cable news/information channels. The Democratic debate which was advertised as the political version of prize-fight materialized with viewers, but not with “squabbling.” Strangely, the bickering was in the Republican Debate the night before. This was the strongest debate in cable news history, let alone CNN’s history and was the smart move for the cable channel to lock it up just prior to Super Tuesday. No one could have predicted it would be a two candidate debate, which also probably increased interest.
Fox News: 525,000*
This audience for CNN boasted a 457% increase over Fox News’ 8-10PM time period average of Bill O’Reilly and HANNITY & COLMES. It was a whopping 685% increase over an anemic performance by regular COUNTDOWN and Dan Abrams. However, MSNBC showed signs of life with its 10-12MD COUNTDOWN “coded” post-debate analysis with 215,000 viewers. This performance was NO MATCH for the special AC360 from 10-11PM of 1,760,000 Adults 25-54 and GRETA 10-11PM of 385,000. In other words, CNN trounced the other channels with the debate and its analysis.
The debate also delivered historic demographic delivery for CNN once again making cable debate history by delivering:
Total Audience 2+: 8,324,000
Adults 18-34: 1,257,000
Adults 18-49: 2,963,000
We can only hope that in attracting younger audience that this will translate to voter interest in the primaries and election. When one can vote at 18, the elusive television viewers of Adults 18-34 could make a difference in this election year.
Friday 8PM-11PM (primetime), Adults 25-54^:
Worn out yet? Well, Friday was really “mop up” day for the week and audience levels pretty much came back to normal. Fox took the 8PM hour with COUNTDOWN just nudging out ELECTION CENTER on CNN. HANNITY & COLMES was the winner at 9PM with LKL coming in a respectable second place and MSNBC’s “docbloc” brought up the rear. At 10PM, however, AC360 TOOK THE TIME PERIOD, edging GRETA by 14,000 viewers. MSNBC was a very competitive third with their “docbloc.” The good news is that after beating GRETA in January, the first day of February also went to Cooper and Company.
Busy week, and next Tuesday’s SUPER TUESDAY’s audiences will be interesting as the broadcast networks will be back in the act again to affect cable news audience’s choices. ~RATINGS GURU
*8-10PM TIME PERIOD average Bill O’Reilly/HANNITY & COLMES averaged to match CNN’s 8-10PM debate average.
**8-10PM TIME PERIOD average COUNTDOWN/DAN ABRAMS averaged to match CNN’s 8-10PM debate average
^Courtesy Nielsen Media Research, All demographics where noted; LIVE + SAME DAY (LS), Fast Track Nationals.