Context Matters…

This BrandIndex report on Cable News branding is getting some play today.

Unlike past major breaking news stories, coverage of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 over the past three weeks does not seem to have had much impact on cable news network consumer perception, with CNN and CNN Headline News actually drifting downward over the last three weeks.

Both CNN networks had been at, or close to, one year highs on consumer perception at the end of 2013, but both have been declining since the start of 2014, unstopped by the recent aggressive coverage of the lost air flight. Meanwhile, Fox News has remained steady and in positive territory. MSNBC ranks fourth out of the group.

It sounded interesting to me at first and those graphs looked bad, especially for CNN. But then I read this…

YouGov BrandIndex’s Buzz scores range from 100 to -100 and compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive.

So I thought about this for a bit. That three week decline mentioned above amounted to less than one full point. One point out of a possible 200 (given that the overall range swings from 100 to -100). That translates into a three week branding swing of less than .5%. In fact CNN’s entire measured range from 01/13 – today was only slightly over 16 points out of a possible 200 which would equal about an 8% swing range.

So I don’t read a lot into that graph. Yes, CNN is down for the year and down in whatever metrics BrandIndex uses to measure branding since the MH370 coverage started (while its ratings went up before trailing off a bit). But taken in context with the overall range BrandIndex uses the changes seem to be paltry.

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