CNN's March Ratings So Far: More Lamb than Lion
More evidence that CNN is going to have to find a new strategy fast or risk becoming a cable news also-ran: In the month of March so far, the Time Warner-owned network has come in fourth place in prime time among adults 25 to 54, the key demographic for advertisers, more often than not.
Through March 17, CNN trailed not only Fox News and MSNBC but also its own sister network, Headline News, on nine out of 17 days. On one day, March 13, CNN even drew fewer 25-to-54 viewers than CNBC -- the first time that's happened since November 2007. And of the eight days it finished higher than fourth in the demo, five were either Saturdays or Sundays, typically the lowest rated nights for the news networks.
Now if your a cable news network and your drawing fewer viewers than MSNBC, that's harsh. To be fair though, MSNBC is increasing their viewership. Word is at their current pace they may even get people outside of their employee's families to watch.
The question is, what is going on? CNN used to own the cable news market, before Fox that is. Now they're struggling to keep the lights on.
Not surprisingly, I have a theory.
The country is highly polarized politically right now. Of course, this is entirely the fault of the Democrats, they just won't listen to reason.
I wonder if this is CNN's problem. They have a tendency to be a relatively moderate network with a left-ward lean.
While Fox is a fairly balanced network, it does lean right.
MSNBC by contrast is so far left that they make Nancy Pelosi look like, well, a less liberal Democrat. They are effectively the Obama News Network although I think the rumors that they are changing their name to ONN are untrue.
So Fox has the right-wing and right of center viewers pretty well locked up. Right now they are the only news network that is reporting all of the news on Obama. Undoubtedly their on-air people are mostly right leaning but I challenge anyone to show proof that any network, cable or broadcast, is giving a more balanced account of the Obama presidency. So, in other words, Fox is reporting the truth. People that want to hear it are tuning in to them.
MSNBC is getting the left-wing and a lot of the left of center viewers, especially Obama supporters. They are saying what Obama supporters want to hear. It may not always be the whole story and is at times wildly inaccurate but it is like comfort food for a lot of Obama supporters.
I wonder if in this scenario CNN, being a moderate network in a politically polarized country, is the odd man out?