Carrying Water?

Mediaite’s Andrew Kirell writes about how MSNBC’s crime docs skew its ratings…

For total day viewership (6 a.m.-6 a.m.), we noted that CNN moved into second place, with MSNBC not too far behind. But when you remove MSNBC’s crime documentaries series — which constitute an unusual break from the network’s editorially progressive political content — their demo ratings (A24-54) sink lower, handing that category over to CNN as well.

CNN must be pleased with reading this. It’s the kind of thing they’d want to note. Oh, wait…it’s precisely the thing they have noted!

Without the series “Lock Up” and “Caught on Camera,” etc. MSNBC ratings fall even more dramatically, from 133k to 117k. FOX was off -5% in total viewers and down -18% in the demo 25-54 in 2013.

My gripe with Kirell’s (unintended or otherwise) hatchet job isn’t so much that he stated the obvious – that MSNBC’s crime docs boost its ratings. We all know that. No, my gripe is that Kirell ignored the fact that CNN’s taped programming, “which constitute an unusual break from” the network’s news brand, has skewed its own ratings higher.

Kirell does try to claw out an excuse for citing MSNBC’s taped programming…

This is significant because neither Fox nor CNN devote anywhere near this amount of time to airing taped tabloid/crime programming.

Accurate point…MSNBC does air more crime/tabloid taped programming, but ultimately irrelevant for two reasons.

1) That MSNBC airs more crime/tabloid taped programming vs CNN is offset by the fact that CNN is jumping headfirst into more and more tape. More tape = less time for live news. It’s like two women arguing over who is more pregnant. They’re both pregnant. Tape is tape.

2) Jeff Zucker has publicly stated that more tape will air during M-Fr primetime. That’s something that MSNBC no longer does save for the occasional Friday or holiday blast. CNN’s end goal is the same as MSNBC’s…for taped programming to boost ratings.

This story has all the markings of a story pitch. The red flag is the ratings screen grab. Unless Mediaite suddenly became a Nielsen subscriber there is no way they’d have a screen grab formatted like that. That kind of formatting is the kind used by networks. So, the question I have is which network pitched this: CNN or FNC?

4 Responses to “Carrying Water?”

  1. Spud thinking the MSNBC airing of large blocks of TRAILOR-PARK-TRASH-TV is equivalent to CNN airing taped programs is puzzling to me. I guess both aren’t live news shows, but then neither hamburger nor prime rib are fish.

  2. But they are both beef…

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