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Reese Schonfeld

Reese Schonfeld

Posted: December 2, 2010 11:49 AM


Fewer viewers tuned into cable news this November than last November, despite Parker/Spitzer and the fact that 2010 was an election year and 2009 wasn't.

Now for the details:

Only MSNBC showed growth with double-digit percentage gains in total viewing and all key demographics over last year. FoxNews losses were minimal, less than 5 percent in most areas but down 10 percent with viewers 25-54 in prime time. Headline News was down 18% in prime time total viewing, and CNN was down 19 percent. Headline News and CNN showed double-digit drops in prime time among 18-49s and 25-54s.

Once again, MSNBC had the largest gains in total day, up 15 percent, while CNN and Headline News were down 12 percent and 21 percent, respectively. The news was a little better for CNN in viewers 18-49 and 25-54, dropping only 4 percent in total day viewing, while Headline took heavy losses, down 39 percent in 18-49s and 31% in 25-54s. FoxNews was relatively stable, with fewer than 5 percent defections.

Significantly, CNN's new prime time lineup (Parker/Spitzer, et al) hasn't caught on yet. The network had 12 percent fewer viewers this year than last, when Campbell Brown occupied the Parker/Spitzer slot. This is no reflection on current management, since it was last year's management that designed the new lineup. It's the job of Ken Jautz, CNN's new leader, to do something better. I hope Parker and Spitzer aren't on multi-year contracts.