It’s an FBN Ratings Flood…

Broadcasting & Cable’s Alex Weprin gets the latest FBN ratings leak (likely from FBN) regarding Imus’ first week on the air. Well I suppose the good news is FBN is slowly running out of new internet places to leak numbers to; numbers which aren’t valid since the network isn’t officially rated by Nielsen yet.

Imus in the Morning averaged a .2 rating and 148,000 viewers P2+ in its 6-9 a.m. timeslot for the week of October 5-9.

That was good enough to just beat CNBC’s Squawk Box, which averaged 145,000 viewers P2+.

Imus premiered on FBN October 5 to 177,000 total viewers, and had a day-to-day retention rate of 75%.

That means 148,000 people tuned in last week to watch Imus not really talk about business much and catch business headlines for a smallish percentage of minutes each hour. Meanwhile if one wanted to know in depth why things are the way they are in the business world during that time period, one would have to tune in to CNBC or Bloomberg.

Imus may indeed start burying Squawk Box in the ratings but it’ll be bury it with people who predominantly won’t be business viewers but Imus viewers. Remember, the bulk of CNBC’s viewership occurs in locations not measured by Nielsen – the term is “out of home” I believe – a point CNBC frequently notes when discussing its numbers. That means CNBC’s target audience, for which the network gets premium advertisers attention, is essentially “off the grid”. If FBN, which is available in fewer homes than CNBC by a near 2:1 ratio, suddenly surges like it did with Imus it likely means home viewers are tuning in and not business viewers (business viewers…the ones that advertisers crave anyways…would tend to be, well, watching from their businesses so they’re “off the grid”).

In other words, direct comparisons between ratings on CNBC and FBN from 6-9 require a more delicate parsing than MSM media writers, who tend to like nice neat headlines that don’t require a lot of explanation, will get into.

I won’t repeat myself and post yet another detailed dissertation on why the leaks need to stop and nobody should post numbers until FBN is officially rated by Nielsen. Instead I’ll note that CNBC has been quiet up till this point. I suspect that if the leaks continue CNBC will respond publicly with some detailed pushback.

14 Responses to “It’s an FBN Ratings Flood…”

  1. starbroker Says:

    The bulk of their viewership? Where is this nonsense coming from? How much is CNBC paying you to say things like this?

    Also, to act like it has some effect on SB’s numbers. They might get the out of home viewership starting in the last hour of SB, but to act like its some huge effect is ridiculous. FNC should be complaining about all their “out of home” viewing because its probably 3 times or more what CNBC has. Whether its in bars, doctors offices, business offices etc. For a while, they were airing it in over 2500 Walmart Super Centers.

    CNBC gets a premium for its advetisers because while they are older they are affluent. So they get a premium just like golf champsionships do to hawk those consumers Cadillacs, Rolex’s and other things.

    Too bad CNBC didn’t leak the ratings. Hey guys, we got beat by Imus for the full week. Be sure to stop watching us and tune in to what everyone else is watching. Oh and if you don’t get FBN yet, be sure to call your local cable /satellite operator and request it. Because we know you’d rather be seeing them than our sorry programming we still can’t get right after 20 years.

    Oh and also, while your “out of home” be sure to watch McEnroe or Dennis Miller (no wait, we tried and failed with those before). Watch our great business show Deal or No Deal and the Apprentice (they totally blew away anything else we were airing on the network). Woops, no now we are doing DOCS in the evening because nobody will watch any of our programming after 4:00 pm pretty much.

    Perhaps they can show the Porn replay for the 50th time. Great business programming! ha ha Pretty soon they will start airing “Wall Street” and “Barbarians At The Gate”. Just wait and see! Business related movies will be CNBC’s next move in programming.

    What is lost in all this is the only thing that really matters is profits and loss. FBN should be profitable within 12-24 months. CNBC makes alot of money but they also spend a fortune as well which severly reduces their profit.

    Then within a few years FBN will be rebranded as the Dow Jones Network (once the deal is over with in 2012) and it will be another huge win in the Roger Ailes column.

  2. The bulk of their viewership? Where is this nonsense coming from? How much is CNBC paying you to say things like this?

    I’m living large now. No need to look for work.

    Also, to act like it has some effect on SB’s numbers. They might get the out of home viewership starting in the last hour of SB, but to act like its some huge effect is ridiculous.

    That is an interesting point and one that did occur to me. However that would require an hour by hour breakout of the hours for both channels and we don’t get that.

    FNC should be complaining about all their “out of home” viewing because its probably 3 times or more what CNBC has.

    And this earth shattering revelation of FBN 3x lead over CNBC is based on what exactly? An Ouija Board?

    Too bad CNBC didn’t leak the ratings. Hey guys, we got beat by Imus for the full week. Be sure to stop watching us and tune in to what everyone else is watching.

    Yeah they got beat. They got beat by what is essentially a non-business show. So what? CNN, MSNBC, and FNC also beat them with non-business shows in that timeslot. FBN is supposed to be a business network. But it’s not really competing with CNBC in that department anymore. So the direct ratings comparison is largely meaningless because it’s apples and oranges.

    The last half of your rant makes me want to reconsider me earlier appraisal of you Starbroker. Up until now I was giving you the benefit of the doubt as to whether you were a network mole or not. But your attacks have been so vicious and predominently concerned with CNBC and FBN that I may have to re-evaluate that analysis. And you know what happens to moles on ICN, don’t you? Consider yourself on a shot leash…

  3. readyforit1 Says:

    ^ Does this person work for Fox Business or something?

    Not sure what he/she is gloating about….people are clearly just tuning in for Imus, and then tuning RIGHT BACK OUT at 9am.

    Last Monday, on his big premiere day, FBN only averaged 36k viewers from 9am to 7pm. Usually, the network got 21,000 from 5am to 7pm — and this 21k includes the ZERO rated 5am – 8am hours.

    Lesson? Sure, people are tuning into Imus in the morning (with POOR demos, by the way)….but after that, hardly ANYONE sticks around. Good luck building a BUSINESS network which airs a morning show with LOW BUSINESS CONTENT, and with an audience that flees at 9am.
    (unlike CNBC, might I add, which BUILDS it’s audience during the day…)

  4. Okay, I warned Starbroker so I’m warning you too readyforit1. You just posted inside information (FBN’s 9-7 numbers). Only someone connected to either Nielsen or a network has that data. Come out from the shadows and state your allegiances and who you work for and go on the record. Otherwise take your backroom battle elsewhere.

    I have zero tolerence for moles regardless of the network they work for.

  5. readyforit1 Says:

    LOL wow simmer down there, Spud.

    I got the information from a post YOU made earlier last week

    Talking like that to your visitors is a crappy, crappy way of running this blog…

    Here: https://insidecablenews.wordpress.com/2009/10/10/in-depth-getting-played/
    and here: http://weblogs.jomc.unc.edu/talkingbiznews/?p=11146

  6. Oh geez, here we go..

  7. starbroker Says:

    LOL ICN you should really pay attention to the news out there. He didn’t post any “inside information”. That story was out there.

    http://weblogs.jomc.unc.edu/talkingbiznews/?p=11146

    My goodness, sorry you can’t take any criticism from your flawed analysis that if someone knows more than you about tv then they are a “mole”! That’s pretty funny and sad.

    Also, why did you change what I said on the FNC probably gets 3 X the “out of home” viewing as CNBC to changing it to FBN? Since FNC has over 10 times the viewers CNBC does (and I listed numerous “out of home” places it airs, 3X is probably conservative in that estimate.

    But where did you get the CNBC is watched more “out of home” comment? A ouija board?

  8. Ok, fair enough. I apologize to readyforit1. I’ve had many run-ins with moles on this board and you exhibited all the classic signs. 1st time poster, accusing the other guy of working for a network, etc…

    And yes, Starbroker I did misread what you wrote. And for that I apologize to you too…for that mistake (though why FNC would complain about out of home viewers is an interesting point but really not germaine to discussions of CNBC’s out of home viewership. You’re still on my watch list though.

    And for the record, the out of home comment is common knowledge. CNBC constantly notes that the bulk of its audience isn’t rated by Nielsen because its out of home. Whether that statement is accurate or not is not knowable since, obviously, Nielsen doesn’t rate out of home except in a few unique circumstances (college dorms for example). But it sounds logical.

  9. Talking like that to your visitors is a crappy, crappy way of running this blog…

    Maybe, but if you’d been a long time reader of this blog you know that for over a year I had to battle network moles and ideologial agitators. I banned a lot of people. I want ICN’s discussions to be free of agitators, either ideological or network. It’s a tall order and I have to run a tight ship to maintain it. But the blog now has commenters who will dissagree with each other, sometimes very forcefully, but they’re real people. They aren’t agenda pushers. And that’s the way I want to keep it.

  10. starbroker Says:

    I agree I have read/seen CNBC make those comments/complaints about “out of home” viewing in the NY Times and other places. The problem is they can’t back it up. Certainly not to the amount that they claim.

    I would also point out that the ones who are really effected by out of home viewing are channels like ESPN. Those are the ones who lose a large number of viewers who are watching games in sports bars. Well, really any of the sports channels and NBC (Sunday Night Football), Fox (NFC) etc.

    The difference between those (for the most part) is that people are watching the whole time and the sound is on, you see the commercials and everything.

    The problem with CNBC’s argument about its on in all these business’, brokerages etc. Its on people’s computer screens put up in one corner but its just background noise. You keep it on to see if something breaks. Occasionally check the ticker. But for the most part the sound is off or way down and you are actually working for the most part and not paying attention to it (and especially not the ads). Now if those ads aren’t really being viewed, the question becomes, should they count?

  11. Star, I disagree about the ads. If it’s on a screen within your field of vision, it’s a ‘hit’.

  12. I agree I have read/seen CNBC make those comments/complaints about “out of home” viewing in the NY Times and other places. The problem is they can’t back it up. Certainly not to the amount that they claim.

    This is true. But just because they can’t back it up doesn’t mean it isn’t true. There isn’t a way to back it up until Nielsen starts measuring Wall St and similar demographics. Until then, we are forced to guess. But, like I said, it sounds logical.

    I would also point out that the ones who are really effected by out of home viewing are channels like ESPN. Those are the ones who lose a large number of viewers who are watching games in sports bars. Well, really any of the sports channels and NBC (Sunday Night Football), Fox (NFC) etc.

    True also. But this is essentially a problem that’s been going on forever. Networks have pushed Nielsen to rate out of home. The problem for Nielsen is one of implementation. How do you measure out of home? what metrics will you use. To follow your sports bar scenario, you can have a bartender or owner in the Nielsen family but how do you measure viewers in the bar? Use a guess as an average (1 bar=10 viewers)? That’s a slippery slope proposition. I think that’s one reason why Nielsen has resisted trying to measure out of home. It’s a Pandora’s box.

    The difference between those (for the most part) is that people are watching the whole time and the sound is on, you see the commercials and everything.

    Not necessarily. Doesn’t count for DVRs and commercial skipping. Doesn’t count for those who get up and do something for commercial breaks. Doesn’t count for those who turn the volume off during breaks (my parents for example).

    Star, I disagree about the ads. If it’s on a screen within your field of vision, it’s a ‘hit’.

    Not necessarily. And that’s why advertisers are in a love/hate relationship with Nielsen. They take the Nielsen numbers because there’s nothing better out there. But they don’t entirely trust those numbers because it doesn’t mean people are paying attention to the commercials. Or even really watching TV (in the case of People Meters and not ratings books you enter by hand).

  13. starbroker Says:

    CNBC can make up claims. They don’t have the dats to back them up, so they shouldn’t make statements like theres more viewers watching “out of home” … that’s just wrong.

    Here is one of the first leaks of FBN numbers, I wonder who did that:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/25/AR2008072502843.html

    One other point that hasn’t been mentioned is how MSNBC was saved and how NBC was able to get a license fee incease– The Olympics.

    There’s some good articles out there on the subject like how several years ago the only thing that made MSNBC a profit was the Olympics and how before 2008 CNBC got a fee increase because they would be airing the Olympics and NBC tried to push for other cable outlets that would be showing the games.

    CNBC is certainly one of the most overpriced channels when it comes to viewership. Yeah, I know FBN is more overpriced, but. . .

    I believe it was a NY Times article last year that talked about the expsenses at CNBC. They were running more than all their ad revenue etc. The whole profit from the network came from their fees. They will have to start worrying about that. If FBN starts to overtake them in total numbers (when it comes time for renewal), CNBC could be in for a drop from that high fee they get or more to a higher tier.

    So while some can throw stones at FBN for using Imus, at least they didn’t use SPORTING EVENTS to do what NBC did. Can you imagine if FBN had done that??! Oh my. The stones would be out in full force.

    I can’t believe the cable/satellite operators were dumb enough to fall for it. I didn’t watch one single Olympic event last year. I could care less. When they let the pros start competing, its useless.

    Also of interest, did you see when CNBC (probably) released those ratings in 2008? Right before the Olympics when FBN would start calling them out for showing sporting events instead of business news.

    For my money, FBN should be allowed to do whatever they can to get more viewers & distribution with the crud NBC pulled with the Olympics (higher fees, lower tier placement etc). But how many stories in Broadcasting and Cable, MuliChannel News etc bring up points like that these days?

  14. Here is one of the first leaks of FBN numbers, I wonder who did that:

    I’m not sure. The fact that it includes FBN commentary from Magee suggests is telling. FBN has shown a history of not commenting on stories it doesn’t want getting out.

    Here’s another set of four leaks which occurred even earlier and all on the same day. Three were leaked by FBN to combat the 4th which was leaked to the Times, probably by CNBC. The three that were leaked by FBN all had FBN commentary. The 4th, the negative one, didn’t.

    http://insidecable.blogsome.com/2008/01/04/8558/

    And I’m not sure that Kurtz piece you cited is truly negative. It’s defensive but it’s written in a way to play down the negatives. So I would consider it a neutral at best. But as to where the numbers came from, the timing of the leak (the article says the numbers came in “yesterday”) is interesting. Kurtz would have had to have been fast on his feet to turn around a story in one day, which included on the record comments from Magee, but which started with a negative leak from CNBC. It’s not out of the realm of the impossible though.

    I believe it was a NY Times article last year that talked about the expsenses at CNBC. They were running more than all their ad revenue etc. The whole profit from the network came from their fees. They will have to start worrying about that.

    You’re a tad late to this story. They already are worrying about it. CNBC survived the first couple of rounds of NBCU 2.0 budget cuts because of FBN’s launch but not the last one and probably not the one that’s going on now. CNBC Worldwide has been doing a lot of behind the scenes restructuring the past year, to bring costs down.

    So while some can throw stones at FBN for using Imus, at least they didn’t use SPORTING EVENTS to do what NBC did. Can you imagine if FBN had done that??! Oh my. The stones would be out in full force.

    Not by me. I would have no problem with it if the Fox Broadcast network secured the rights for an Olympics and used its cable outlets to cover events it didn’t have room for on the broadcast channels. In 1992, back before NBC merged with Universal/Vivendi, NBC put on the Olympics on three pay per view channels to cover events it didn’t have time to air on the broadcast network. But once NBC had cable channels to air the shows it went that route. Does it fit in with news? No. I’m in two minds on this issue. On the one hand I prefer that MSNBC stick with news. On the other hand, I fully realize that no network has the time available to air the longest running events (Soccer in the summer, Ice Hockey in the winter). And though you may not have watched any event last Olympics, many did. Including myself.

    For my money, FBN should be allowed to do whatever they can to get more viewers & distribution with the crud NBC pulled with the Olympics (higher fees, lower tier placement etc). But how many stories in Broadcasting and Cable, MuliChannel News etc bring up points like that these days?

    Actually, most of the stories on Imus and FBN have written it up in a positive way; i.e. a means to attract viewers and distribution. Some, like me, have not. I know Silicon Alley Insider has been as vocal as I have about this being a sign of weakness on FBN’s part. I have been a long time critic of MSNBC’s doc blocks and it’s weekend taped programming of crime crap at the expense of airing news. That’s what I don’t like about Imus and FBN. What’s FBN’s purpose? To air business news or not? They’re supposed to be taking on CNBC. How can you take on another business channel when your programming in the morning is not really business? Don’t talk about those updates. What I’ve seen of them doesn’t say much.

    Look at MSNBC. Supposed to be a news channel. But what’s boosted its profit margin? Primetime when there’s little news being reported. Dayside, which is supposed to be where the branding of a news channel really counts, is a train wreck. For news, it’s the worst it’s ever been. The brand is a mess.

    That’s what concerns me so much about FBN and Imus. Look, I don’t hate FBN and bear no animosity towards it. I’m criticizing it purely on the issue of brand dilution. Putting on a non-business show may jumpstart the numbers for that time period but the cost is brand identification. It’s no longer about business. It’s about Imus. I felt the same way when Imus was on MSNBC. So I’m being consistent here and not partisan against FBN.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: