The New York Times’ Bill Carter writes about MSNBC’s ratings woes…
Rachel Maddow, the biggest star on the MSNBC cable network, just posted her lowest quarterly ratings results ever.
“Morning Joe,” MSNBC’s signature morning program, scored its second-lowest quarterly ratings, reaching an average of just 87,000 viewers in the key news demographic group.
And “Ronan Farrow Daily,” the network’s heavily promoted new afternoon show, which stars a 26-year-old Rhodes Scholar with a high-profile Hollywood lineage, has been largely a dud.
But then there’s this…
MSNBC consciously established its brand as politics-centric, approaching stories from a left-of-center viewpoint, in deliberate contrast to the right-of-center approach of Fox News, which continues to dominate the news channel ratings. At the same time, MSNBC moved away from a close relationship with NBC News that it had during the early years of the network. Today, fewer NBC News correspondents appear on MSNBC.
Mr. Griffin said that a general apathy about American politics has also hurt the network. “You can look at the dysfunction in Washington, the wariness about politics, the low approval ratings,” he said. “That’s had an impact. But we’ve got to adjust; we’ve got to evolve.”
Hmmmm…is this Phil Griffin signalling that MSNBC is moving off of politics…at least to some extent?
One longtime news executive who has worked for both network and cable news organizations said the problem with “Morning Joe” was partly a broader issue with MSNBC. “ ‘Morning Joe’ has been hurt because no one is tuning in to watch the channel now; they go right by,” he said. “The show took its eye off the ball, but you can’t discount the fact that nobody is watching the channel.”
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The executive, who asked not to be identified because of potential future business with MSNBC, said Ms. Maddow remains a draw, but her format has grown tired. “In terms of Rachel, everybody knows every night what she’s going to say,” he said. “The network just doesn’t surprise you.”
Oooohh…talking out of school in the same article that Griffin tries to position MSNBC’s story for Carter? Not good.
As for MSNBC, Mr. Griffin remained optimistic despite the challenges. He defended the network’s approach, but also hinted that it had to broaden its programming beyond politics.
“We have a good brand, a strong brand,” he said. “But we’ve got to get outside Washington and open up our aperture a little.”
No argument on the second point. But as to the first…if MSNBC’s brand is so stron…so good…why have its ratings gone so south. The whole point of having a strong brand is it allows you to weather the storm better.