Today in the Fareed Zakaria scandal…nothing happened. So let’s talk about MSNBC. Variety’s Brian Steinberg writes about the network’s attempt to find “new voices” to combat the decline in viewership that saw CNN regain #2 in the 3rd quarter…
Giving time to new voices is a strategy that MSNBC is re-emphasizing as it seeks to take back ground it has ceded to rival CNN. In the third quarter, the Time Warner outlet, which has ratings woes of its own, saw all its daytime programming airing between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. trump MSNBC’s. “We are experimenting,” said Phil Griffin, MSNBC’s president, at a meeting with reporters Tuesday. “And if you are not experimenting, you should not be here.”
In Griffin’s view, a broadcaster like Diaz-Balart is an investment in the future. The U.S. Hispanic population has grown 50% from 2000 to 2012, to 53 million people, according to the Pew Research Center, with most of that growth coming from births in the U.S. rather than new immigrants. The newsman, who will continue to anchor Telemundo’s evening newscast “Noticiero Telemundo” and its Sunday public-affairs program “Enfoque con José Díaz-Balart,” wants to shine a light on issues involving immigration reform and Latin American economics that aren’t always on viewers’ radar.
MSNBC seems to be attempting to suss out issues that will be relevant to growing segments of U.S. consumers. The network this past weekend aired a primetime concert aimed at sparking global activism. And it has sought out non-traditional voices, like Ronan Farrow, whose early afternoon program has received some criticism despite focusing on issues more relevant to millenials than boomers.
Giving on-air real estate to people who aren’t “blow-dried anchors” is a considered one, said Griffin, who praised Farrow’s efforts. “I’m in this for the long term,” he said. “We have to get different voices.”
Different voice may or may not make a difference…that jury has yet to come back from deliberations. But topicality is important. One of the reasons I believe CNN surged to 2nd in the third quarter is because of the heavy news cycle. If everyone is concerned about ISIL, The Ukraine, Hong Kong protests and the like, you better be devoting significant A block time to it.
I mention this because a couple of weeks ago I happened to catch Maddow’s A block. She wasn’t talking any of those subjects but some obscure-to-non-ideologues state politics subject matter concerning Kansas I believe. How does MSNBC expect to make fresh voices work if those voices are not talking about the things everyone else is talking about?
For me, that’s MSNBC’s current problem in a nutshell. Their talent are too invested in their own political worlds when the rest of the world is sometimes more interested in something else.