April Numbers: CNN…

Posted in Ratings Related on April 27, 2016 by icn2

Yes, I’m a day late on this. I’ve been sick as a dog. CNN is noting its April ratings…



CNN Posts Triple Digit Growth in Prime Time; Most in TV

Narrows Gap with Fox News in Total Day to Smallest in Over Seven Years

CNN also #1 on Weekends

CNN ranked #1 in cable news in prime time in April. CNN beat Fox News for the fifth time in the last eight months in M-Su prime time (four of the past eight in M-F prime) among adults 25-54. The last time CNN had this many prime time wins in an eight-month period versus Fox News was over 14 years ago (Nov. 2001). CNN also handily topped MSNBC this month in all dayparts, with CNN besting MSNBC for the 22nd straight month in Total Day (among both total viewers and among adults 25-54) and in prime time (among 25-54). In total viewers, CNN has now beaten MSNBC for the fifth straight month (or seven out of eight months) in prime time. CNN continued to top MSNBC by wide margins during the day (9am-4pm) – posting a +36% advantage in total viewers (630k vs. MSNBC’s 464k) and +58% more among adults 25-54 (161k vs. 102k).

In April, CNN had the most growth of any television network (cable or broadcast) among both total viewers and adults 25-54, increasing triple digits in prime time. Among ALL cable networks in April, CNN ranked #7 in total viewers in M-F prime time. In Total Day, CNN was also up vs. last year, increasing +59% in total viewers and +48% among adults 25-54.

Of particular note, CNN has narrowed the gap with Fox News (196k vs. Fox News’ 215k) to its smallest level (-9%) in over seven years (since October, 2008) in Total Day among adults 25-54. CNN beat Fox News in prime time this month among adults 25-54.

Even using the less inclusive measurement (Live+SD), CNN beats Fox News to rank #1 across cable news among in both M-Su Prime (372k vs. Fox News’ 344k) and M-F Prime (435k vs. Fox News’ 402k) among adults 25-54 this month. CNN beat Fox News for the fourth of last eight months in M-Su prime among adults 25-54 (April, February 2016 and December, September 2015) in Live+SD. CNN was behind Fox News by -1k (293k vs. 294k) in October 2015 (Live+SD), but ahead of Fox News (307k vs. 300k) in the more inclusive measurement (Live+7).

CNN April 2016 Program Highlights:
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More Zucker Analysis…

Posted in CNN on April 25, 2016 by icn2

The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple takes aim at Jeff Zucker over his Guardian interview…

Zucker told the Guardian that CNN was holding Trump’s “feet to the fire” and cited a town hall event in which Anderson Cooper fired tough questions at the candidate. And he spoke of an evolving approach to doing cable news: “It used to be CNN and other television outlets were founded on this idea of a news wheel. You give us 22 minutes and we’ll give you the world. But that’s not the way people consume news and information any more. So on television we are going to go much deeper on the one, two or three stories of real significance or interest that day, and we are going to satisfy all your news needs and questions digitally.”

Bolding added to dispute a talking point: Sure, TV news may be focusing its coverage more on just a couple of stories, but that’s not to say that the treatment is “deeper.” It’s just often more repetitive.

Spin Control…

Posted in CNN on April 25, 2016 by icn2

Jeff Zucker gives a self-serving interview to the Guardian’s Jasper Jackson…

“We are covering the story, and he’s been the Republican frontrunner for almost a year now. I only wish that CNN had that much power to be able to create a frontrunner on either side … The critics of Donald Trump are looking for people to blame for his rise. There are many people who are either surprised by his strength, or don’t like him, and want to blame someone to explain why he has been this popular.”

Nice way to reframe the issue. Only an idiot is going to blame cable news in general for Trump’s rise. But that dodges the central question which Zucker does not want to answer…was CNN’s Trump coverage proportional to the front runner or over the top even by front runner standards?

And while critics have highlighted CNN’s wall-to-wall Trump coverage, filling the airwaves with what Zucker describes (along with the war on terror) as one of “two amazing stories in the world right now” fits the strategy he has pursued since taking over in 2013. “It used to be CNN and other television outlets were founded on this idea of a news wheel. You give us 22 minutes and we’ll give you the world. But that’s not the way people consume news and information any more. So on television we are going to go much deeper on the one, two or three stories of real significance or interest that day, and we are going to satisfy all your news needs and questions digitally.”

Translation: We are in it for the ratings and only the ratings. News doesn’t matter. We want your eyeballs and so we will stick to the three biggest water cooler stories of the day. You want news? Piss off to your computer or tablet…

The news wheel may or may not be dead but it’s not the reason why Zucker is doing this. And we know this is the case because of what CNNI covers. If going three stories deep at the expense of world news is the silver bullet Zucker makes it out to be, CNNI should be aping this model.

That CNNI still follows the news wheel says all you need to know about how “poeple consume news and information any more”.

What Zucker is really saying here:

Americans are stupid people. We are betting against you by giving you twaddle instead of news. We figure you’ll be more interested in watching stuff that distracts or entertains you over being actually informed. The rest of the world doesn’t operate by this standard which is why we have CNNI. But in this country, we want big ratings so that means cutting back on news and giving you Trump 24/7. And you suckers will go for it because you don’t know any better. We aren’t leading this revolution. We’re following you. And that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

The irony in all this: The Guardian is an international paper filled with readers who crave the very news CNN US is all but abandoning. Talk about the wrong audience for this interview…

Changes in FNC Executive Ranks…

Posted in FNC on April 21, 2016 by icn2

TVNewser’s A.J. Katz writes that FNC’s Michael Clemente is being moved from Executive Vice President of News Editorial to a new unit inside FNC. Clemente will be EVP of News Specials.

In the shift, Jay Wallace (pictured) has been upped to evp, news and editorial overseeing all daytime weekday and weekend news shows. Wallace has been with the network from the beginning, starting as Shepard Smith‘s ep. Bill Sammon, vp and managing editor of the D.C. bureau, will now report to Wallace.

This kind of move naturally will spark a bunch of “What’s it all mean?” kibitzing. One of the first out of the gate is New York Magazine’s Gabriel Sherman who takes a familiar path…

This afternoon, Fox announced that Clemente is being moved to a new “longform unit” at the network. Veteran Fox executive Jay Wallace will replace him as executive VP of news. For Fox, the shake-up has wide-ranging implications. Until today, Clemente was seen inside and outside the network as a leading contender to replace Ailes, who turns 76 next month. “He’s out,” a Fox host told me. “He’s been kneecapped.”

While the suddenness of Clemente’s ouster stunned Fox hosts and producers, Ailes’s very public backing of Clemente in front of his colleagues might have been seen as an omen. “Roger is very needy and insecure,” one Fox veteran said. He’s often nicest to you when you’re on the way out.

One Fox anchor told me that Ailes suspected Clemente of leaking to the press over the past year. Inside Fox, where executives use burner phones because they fear their corporate lines are monitored, there’s not much worse than being labeled a leaker. Another mark against Clemente is that he had a relationship with Rupert Murdoch. Ailes is said to dislike executives who build up independent power bases, and talking to Murdoch, Ailes’s boss, would be seen as a threat. Lastly, Clemente, a former ABC News executive, never fully shed the stigma that he was an outsider. (Politically, he’s a centrist). His replacement, Jay Wallace, is a longtime Fox executive, who’s risen up through the ranks over the past decade.

Upcoming: Joe Concha’s “Sherman is lying again” rebuttal in 3…2…1…

Stephanie Ruhle to MSNBC…

Posted in MSNBC on April 12, 2016 by icn2

The New York Post’s Kevin Dugan scoops that Bloomberg TV’s Stephanie Ruhle is jumping to MSNBC…

MSNBC has brought in a new face as part of its hard news overhaul.

The cable news outfit scooped up Bloomberg TV morning anchor Stephanie Ruhle, who will appear for an hour during its MSNBC Live daytime coverage, The Post has learned.

NBC News chief Andy Lack is moving MSNBC, which ranks last among the major news networks in the ratings, away from left-leaning political shows. Ruhle is the first anchor Lack has hired from outside under this hard news strategy.

Starting in May, she will anchor for about an hour during MSNBC’s 9 a.m.-to-5 p.m. market news show, a source said. A network spokeswoman declined to comment.

This is surprising news, mostly because I’m having trouble figuring out where in MSNBC’s lineup Ruhle would land. On the surface it would appear MSNBC didn’t have a slot it needed filling…at least not based on what the schedule looked like prior to the network going to “The Place For Politics 2016” schedule which saw a whole bunch of anchors appear on MSNBC’s air who weren’t there before. It seems that the old schedule before the politics programming shift is not going to be used going forward…at least not without modifications.

CNN US Has Lost Its Way…

Posted in CNN on April 5, 2016 by icn2

In the 1990s and 2000s there was always one network you could count on for news that occurred beyond our borders that didn’t include the Middle East or extremism. That network was CNN.

But CNN is a cable news network and cable news networks have become obsessed with US politics as a ratings driver. It’s gotten worse with each successive election since the Florida recount. 2004 was worse than 2000. 2008 was worse than 2004. 2012 was worse than 2008.

So far the 2016 election cycle has been magnitudes worse than anything that has come before in terms of how ridiculous the nets have become in their political coverage. The networks will now cover any piece of useless minutiae if its political. There’s little actual news that has come out of the succession of debates or town halls.

It’s mostly about entertainment. It’s about hyping the politics with countdown clocks being plastered constantly as they count down to events days in advance. It’s about showing video boxes in the lower right corner of the screen showing so and so candidate at such and such an event…and event the nets aren’t actually covering with sound. It’s about hiring armies of pundits with little substantive to say other than talk about who is doing what in the horse race.

This does little to inform the voter. You get probing questions that rarely generate anything other than non-answers or benign boiler plate answers. What you get is the spectacle…to titillate or inflame the viewer and keep them tuned in.

I cannot really fault either MSNBC or FNC. They never had reputations as global news operations covering the world. They were chiefly local (US bound) operations with target bureaus in a few select locations of the world who would send US talent overseas en masse for certain specific events.

But CNN was different. It was a global operation. It still is largely a global operation. But it is two operations; the domestic and the international editions. Over the past 10 years those operations have been increasingly separate in their coverage with CNN US sticking to US politics and certain world issues, mostly national security related or with a Middle East focus. But even then, when big news happened in the world, CNN US could still be counted on to cover it. Not this year.

This year is different. In its drive to gin ratings on the back of the 2016 election, CNN US has abdicated its role of bringing the big (non-Middle East, non-terrorism related) news of the world, particularly of a humanitarian nature, to US audiences.

It started with Cyclone Winston pulverizing Fiji. It was the worst natural disaster to ever hit the nation, leaving tens of thousands homeless. Months later Winston’s after effects still cripple the nation.

But where was CNN? CNN sent an army over to cover Paris and then Belgium. How many did it send to Fiji? One? Two? None? And for how long? A week? Less?

2016 has seen one of the worst El Ninos in a generation hit the Pacific. While CNN US has covered it occasionally in between its near nonstop politics coverage it has been almost entirely from the impact it was having on America.

Did you know that this El Nino has unleashed one of the worst if not the worst ever incidents of coral bleaching to impact the fragile Pacific reef system? The Great Barrier reef is being rapidly killed off. Fiji is having its own die off. And the damage is also killing off reefs in Indonesia as well. Those reefs feed the smaller fish who feed the larger fish or feed the apex predator fish and we feed off all of them. Regardless of the cause, it’s a cataclysmic event that will take a decade to recover from. If it can recover.

And where is CNN? It’s in Wisconsin. It’s ginning up more newsless debates, town halls, and political exclusives to entertain its audience.

But this El Nino isn’t just killing reefs which puts pressure on the world’s seafood supply and will exacerbate tensions in the South China Sea as countries go further out to fish for less and less. This El Nino has unleashed worst ever drought conditions in the central Pacific where islands used to having some level of rain most of the year have hardly seen any in months.

How bad is it? It’s so bad some of the island nations in Micronesia and the Marshall islands are in danger of running out of water. Palau, which is not officially part of Micronesia, has drought conditions so bad it’s literally in danger of running out of water in a matter of weeks.

Ponder that for a moment. A nation of tens of thousands with no tap water. None. Zero.

And where is CNN? Has it bothered to send anyone to cover this?

CNN US has lost its way. It is so addicted to the ratings politics provides that major news stories that impact the world have fallen to the wayside with either scant or no mention at all. It would not surprise me if CNN viewers were asked about any of these stories whether they could even say that they knew about these stories from watching the network. These were stories the network in years past would have covered. Not this year.

To quote a presidential candidate’s famous phrase…CNN, you’re fired!

Chris Jansing gets “Trumped”…

Posted in MSNBC on April 5, 2016 by icn2

Today, Chris Jansing caught Donald Trump live at an event for a few questions which the Trumpster didn’t care for too much apparently…though apparently not enough to head to Twitter to complain about. Talking Points Memo’s Caitlin Cruz writes about the exchange

Jansing then asked if Trump was concerned about the fact his staff was unaware that popular Wisconsin conservative radio host Charlie Sykes was against Trump’s candidacy, setting the candidate up for a brutal interview last week.

“You go into the enemy camp sometimes. He is not a very smart guy, not a very bright guy,” Trump said, adding that his supporters told him he won “the debate” with Sykes.

“Sometimes you go into unfriendly territory. That’s part of the game,” he added.

Is Wisconsin unfriendly territory, Jansing asked?

“No, you said about a radio talk show host,” Trump said.

Jansing pressed him as to whether only Sykes was unfriendly territory.

“That’s what I mean about the dishonest media,” Trump said.

Jansing replied, “I’m asking you a question, allowing you to answer it.”

“Excuse me, Excuse me, excuse me!” Trump said. “You’re asking me about a show host and I said he was unfriendly territory. Then you say is that Wisconsin.”

Jansing reminded Trump that he’d criticized Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) in an earlier part of their interview, but Trump wasn’t having it.

“It’s so dishonest,” he said. “No, no, that’s called—you know what’s that’s called, dishonest media, dishonest reporting. I think I’m going to do great.”


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