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CNN posts lowest total viewership ratings in more than a decade

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Deadline.com is reporting what we already knew: CNN had a tough year in the ratings.

The story, using preliminary Nielsen numbers, says CNN’s overall and 25-54 ratings will be its lowest at least since 1997, when Fox News was barely out of the gate. (With two weeks left in the year, that’s unlikely to change.)

To make matters worse, MSNBC beat CNN in primetime for the first time overall and second year in a row 25-54.

Fox News drew more viewers than CNN, MSNBC and HLN combined.

Every network lost viewers from 2009 but CNN saw the steepest drops with a 34 percent reduction in primetime audience. HLN also saw sharp drops. MSNBC and Fox only fell off in single digits.

In a press release, CNN tried its best to look on the bright side. CNN said it reaches more viewers than the other networks, with 96.4 million monthly viewers vs. 85.7 million for Fox and 83.3 million for MSNBC (through November.) But obviously, its viewers don’t spend as much time with the network as viewers of the other two networks.

CNN also notes its website, with 66 million monthly unique visitors, draws six times as many readers as Fox News Online.

HLN did note that “Morning Express with Robin Meade” had a good year, beating MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” every month this year so far. It had its best year ever from 6 to 10 a.m. among total viewers and 25-54 year old viewers.

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By Rodney Ho, rho@ajc.com, AJCRadioTV blog

67 comments Add your comment

Peggy Duncan

December 15th, 2010
10:56 pm

I stopped watching because all most of them do is let people talk and lie without challenging them. Boring.

Peter Tinkham

December 16th, 2010
6:01 am

To quote the late “Danny Don,” ‘Turn out the lights, The Party is Over.’”

Uncle Fester

December 16th, 2010
6:06 am

CNN? Are they still around? Are they even relevant? The answer to both is NO.

Mike Cavendar

December 16th, 2010
6:53 am

CNN’s a victim of its past and the news business’s present. For years, CNN trained viewers to tune in for a few minutes, get the headlines of the day, see that the world isn’t burning down, then move along. That doesn’t register in the ratings, even though its more people watching, but for less time. Then Fox came along and introduced “opinion-based journalism,” people stuck around to hear long form discussion about those headlines they got on CNN. Eventually, the internet gained popularity as a news content provider, and instead of checking CNN for a quick look at the headlines, people used the web… then went to Fox to be told what to think about those headlines. That’s left CNN out in the cold. Plus CNN has no real appointment-viewing opportunities. Do you know anyone who says, “I have to get home and see Parker-Spitzer!” or “I get all my news from TJ Holmes!”
Peggy: All the news channels do that, and they’re all boring.
Peter: I think the late Dandy Don Meredith also said that. And as long as sponsors keep buying ads, CNN will be around. They’re doing fine in that department. I’ve been in the news business since before many of you were born, and I follow the trends closely. I know of what I speak.
Uncle Fester: Regarding CNN’s relevance, they have to find their place in the very-crowded media landscape. The “we’re not the other guys” approach just doesn’t seem to work. Through the 80s and much of the 90s, CNN had no competition. Now there’s at least 5 other news channels, the internet, iPods, radio, local 24-hour news outlets, and of course the dying giant, the newspaper.
BTW, CNN is Atlanta’s largest employer. It and CNN Center are an important revenue generator for the city. If there were no CNN Center, and you came to town for a convention at the Georgia World Congress Center, would you go walking around downtown to find a place to eat or shop? No way. This is just my opinion, I invite your reply.

Ray

December 16th, 2010
8:41 am

The tea-bag breakfast with the regular guys on 100.5 rocks!

frank who?

December 16th, 2010
8:44 am

Al Feretta

December 16th, 2010
8:55 am

They need to get back to reporting news….not trying to make it.

TVboy

December 16th, 2010
9:31 am

FoxNews makes much smarter decisions than CNN – like re-signing juan williams when the racists at NPR decided they didn’t need a black man escaping the plantation. that’s one reason FNC is killing its competition

1911A1

December 16th, 2010
9:44 am

“BTW, CNN is Atlanta’s largest employer.” Has anyone told Delta about this? What a load of pseudo-intellectual screed.

snottrocket

December 16th, 2010
2:23 pm

Does anyone take into consideration how many cable/satellite providers offer these news channels as part of their basic service compared to their expanded service that, lets face it, many don’t pay extra for? Example; Dish Network….CNN and FNC are standard channels with their basic package whereas MSNBC is not. Many hotels out there will do the same. Point being, how can people watch it if it’s not available?

I’m not saying that the numbers are skewed…I’m sure they’re spot on at least with the people who watch cable news but even that has me asking what percentage of the TV viewing population actually watches cable news versus network news, radio or other sources. Start there and drill down..that would be interesting to see.

@Mike: interesting thoughts. I still wish the anchors would quit trying to make the news compelling and dramatic.

Mike Cavendar

December 16th, 2010
3:37 pm

@1911A1: I meant ONE OF Atlanta’s largest employers. You got me! My screed is not only pseudo-intellectual, its pseudo-factual. Regardless, my point is Turner Broadcasting is important to the city as a major employer. BTW, only a pseudo-intellectual would use the word “screed.”
@SnotRocket: The anchors usually come from local markets where they have to make compelling the same apartment fires, car wrecks, and gas main breaks.

Beretverde

December 16th, 2010
3:41 pm

The bias at CNN is evident.The “Operation Tailwind” lie they aired was the beginning of the end. Good riddance!

ATL guy

December 16th, 2010
4:44 pm

CNN competes against itself with CNN vs HLN. Collapsing back to one CNN with headlines at set intervals built within shows of compelling discussion and analysis, perhaps some which are personality driven, would strengthen the brand.

CNN Atlanta's largest employer?

December 16th, 2010
5:52 pm

Coca Cola, Delta…

CNN’s liberalism is so off the charts that even the liberals think it’s slanted.

KMarcel3

December 16th, 2010
5:55 pm

The only reason why Fox continues to lead in the ratings is simple. The conservatives only have Fixed News to express the conservative agnda. The Liberals have CNN and MSNBC; they split the viewership.

carlton

December 16th, 2010
6:03 pm

It matters not that CNN is a large employer. Are they too big to fail? People will buy junk for a while, then…not so much.

Jose

December 16th, 2010
6:07 pm

For the folks who continue to insist that CNN is somehow ultra-liberal only show they’ve never watched news programming outside the FNC

t-bone

December 16th, 2010
6:07 pm

KMarcel3, what part of “more viewers than CNN, MSNBC and HLN combined” did you not understand?

RGB

December 16th, 2010
6:07 pm

“The only reason why Fox continues to lead in the ratings is simple. The conservatives only have Fixed News to express the conservative [sic] agnda. The Liberals have CNN and MSNBC; they split the viewership.”

Yup–except that when you add the viewership of those 2 cable channels, they pale in comparison to Fox News’s ratings.

People don’t buy BS forever (well, libs excepted of course).

Bill Orvis White

December 16th, 2010
6:12 pm

The dominant liberal media culture has always been around with Communists like Murrow through the Cronkite and Rather years all the way up to Socialist-Democrat Party members Rachel Maddow and Keith Olbermann.

When Rush brought back talk radio, he created an alternative to this dominant liberal media culture that subverted the country through “investigative reporting.” Folk like Roger Ailes took the idea to television and brought it to the masses who realized that there is finally a news outlet that they can identify with and the proof has been in the pudding for over a decade.

It’s a fact that this has been a conservative center-right nation from its founding. Over the past 70 years, we have had Hollyweird and the left-wing media shove leftist values down our throats with movies and TV programming filled with the enviro-whackos’ view of the world, anti-family values, anti-religiousness, anti-businessism and pro-taxism.

It was a disgrace how the left-wing media viewed conservatives like Ronald Reagan, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Phyllis Schlafly, Antia Bryant and the Rev. Jerry Falwell while giving the Kennedys, Jimmah Carter, Bill Clinton and now Hussein Obama the star-glitzy Hollyweird royal red carpet treatment.

Finally, FOX News came along and called out the leftists onto their red carpet. Let’s look at the results: Most the sane members of this nation watch FOX News and only the blowhard elites are watching the other cable news nets.

Facts are facts and no one on this board can argue them. FOX News is THE news leader because they tell the truth and the others have a leftist agenda which is harmful to this once-free nation. Let’s look at the recent election night. Who won? What? I didn’t hear you, you stupid secular-progressive September 10th fools! OF COURSE IT WAS FOX! And now FOX will be doing something dynamic that no other network can do: they will be picking the 2012 GOP presidential nominee this upcoming year! Stay tuned and watch this unprecedented phenomenon. I cannot wait to see how this unfolds with Glenn, Sean, Bill O’, Greta, Ann, Brian, the Dooce and rest of the gang. Take that, you Godless secular-progressive idiots at the other networks!

Merry Christmas and Amen,
Bill

Boca Baby

December 16th, 2010
6:18 pm

I tuned into CNN the other night when some big things were popping on other cable news services to see what CNN’s take on it was. What I discovered was some who-gives-a-rip human interest story airing. If CNN wants to be a factor again they should run away from these stories and move towards the center with their viewpoint. And Joy Behar doesn’t help matters. After all its about ratings and market share. There is no need to trash profitability just to make a point. MSNBC is already there playing that game.

Mel in Midtown

December 16th, 2010
6:23 pm

BOW: “…FOX New is THE news leader because they tell the truth…” You can’t be serious? I mean, really, you believe Faux News? What about their political donations to the Republican Party? You are just what they want – a viewer who sucks up their drivel without doing any of your own thinking. Wanna have some real fun? fact check their news with an independent source… Oh, sorry, that would require using your brain.

Boca Baby

December 16th, 2010
6:24 pm

Bill Orvis White: I agree with most of what you said except your assessment that Edward R. Murrow was a communist. Nothing could be further from the truth. Just because he brought down McCarthy over the extreme mania created by the senator over communism didn’t make him a communist, nor a communist sympathizer. He was a true blue, through and through American patriot who just happened to be a good journalist.

Boca Baby

December 16th, 2010
6:30 pm

Let’s face it. Robin Mead is a much prettier face to look at in the morning than Joe Scarborough. Besides, it is painful to watch Joe sell his conservative soul to MSNBC for the almighty dollar. He always appears to be apologetic on the show regarding his former conservative views. But the “Morning Joe” brand of Starbucks Coffee is a nice consolation.

Jose

December 16th, 2010
6:34 pm

When did advocacy news suddenly become truth-telling? Fox/MSNBC have downgraded news into simple propaganda for political parties. In fact they probably shouldn’t even be categorized as cable news channels in Nielsen ratings and create a whole new entertainment category for them. A news anchor doesn’t need to tell me how to interpret the news, they just need to read from a teleprompter and tell me what is happening. You could have a pile of pundits battle it out but the network itself shouldn’t be the one advocating.

RGB

December 16th, 2010
6:34 pm

Bill Orvis White: Amen and Bravo!

Merry Christmas.

Freakshow Blue

December 16th, 2010
6:37 pm

Mel, CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, ABC, NBC, CBS all contribute more to the democrats via bias reporting and free publicity than Fox could ever give to the Republicans

Boca Baby, Everything McCarthy was trying to do has been proven to be valid. There were plenty of real communist trying to overthrow the government. Read the Soviet papers that have been released. If Murrow wasn’t a communist he sure was a collaborator whether he meant to be or not.

Stuart

December 16th, 2010
6:40 pm

Bill Orvis White: If you like facts so much, here’s one – You are clearly a dull-witted man who sees things as you want to versus the way they really are. Keep watching FOX and listening to Rush. God forbid you should ever take 2 minutes to do a little research or fact-checking on your own. If you did, you’d find that FOX and Rush constantly misrepresent the facts, or just make up their own. And this “liberal media” crap that you mouth-breathing idiots like to cling to….even Bill Kristol said that was crap, just a canard they used years ago that even they never expected to have a shelf life.

ND

December 16th, 2010
6:42 pm

The biggest problem in American media is that their decisions are based on ratings and not journalistic integrity. Fox, CNN, and MSNBC are no better than each other.

Fake News

December 16th, 2010
6:54 pm

Fox News is No. 1 in the ratings for a simple reason. Right wingers, who make up a huge percentage of its audience, have nothing much to do other than watch Fox News and a handful of network shows.

More importantly, it’s necessary for them to watch Fox News and listen to talk radio to know what to think. Without Hannity, Beck, O’Reilly, Rush, Boortz, Coulter, etc., their genius listeners would be forced to think for themselves, which is something far beyond their abilities.

Liberals go to movies (we all know righties hate Hollywood), go to concerts (righties have nothing except country music) and have all sorts of internet and social media options (righties rely on Drudge and not much else).

Plus, liberals think for themselves and don’t require having their opinions reinforced. For all the garbage about how MSNBC and the MSM are in the tank for Obama, they’ve been skewering him about his various cave jobs. You will never, ever, never here any criticism of the right on Fox, which is the propaganda arm (and a very effective one) for the GOP.

CNN’s ratings stink because most of their hosts do little more than bring on guests from different political stripes, let them spot their talking points and never challenge obvious lies/distortions/BS. How they justify running Anderson Cooper’s lame broadcast every night, then re-running it three times in the next four hours, is astonishingly stupid.

Those who think Fox News is superior because of its ratings need to take a look at the most popular entertainment shows. They don’t appeal to MENSA members either.

No one ever wemt broke underestimating the taste and intelligence of the American public. Or lost an election.

cookieman

December 16th, 2010
6:54 pm

Bill Orvis White you said what I wanted to say, only much better. Thanks.

Don

December 16th, 2010
6:55 pm

In my opinion as long as Wolf Blitzer stays of CNN I will NEVER watch CNN

Logic 88

December 16th, 2010
6:55 pm

“Fox News drew more viewers than CNN, MSNBC and HLN combined.”

Face it CNN is left wing … just not as left wing as MSNBC.
I wonder why Fox News beats all of the others combined?

Logic 88

December 16th, 2010
6:57 pm

Fake News at 6:54pm,

You don’t have a clue.

NewsJunkie

December 16th, 2010
6:58 pm

the thing that should be mention is only FoxNews beats The Weather Channel mornings from 6a-10a.

Jared E

December 16th, 2010
7:00 pm

Fox News is #1 because they are the best news…without the left wing dribble…and of course that drives the liberal crazy.

B.O.W. speaks truth

December 16th, 2010
7:06 pm

Stuart, how old are you…12? I’ve viewed everything Bill Orvis White has commented on, and he’s RIGHT on the money. You Stuart, are BLIND. The Emperor REALLY isn’t wearing any clothes, no metter what your John Stewart, Bill Mahr, Al Gore, Michael Moore, etc. types keep indoctrinating you with. This country has been, and is continuing to be weakened because of ignorant people like you. You fit into the ‘useful idiot’ catgory, as do many in the media and Hollywood. You and your type could be reclaimed if you would spend some time thinking for yoursaelf, and trying to overcome your brainwashed condition. Others doing harm know exactly what they’re doing, and evry one of them should have to pay the penalty that was exacted for traitors in this country’s early days!

[...] CNN is like the guy in The Abyss who gets his personal submarine knocked off the ledge and sinks into the abyss before the water pressure does its damage. CNN is about as boring as it gets news reporting. None of their anchors have any personality. Meanwhile, FOX News is absolutely destroying their competition among the cable news networks. Yes, I do watch FOX News. However, I also do enjoy watching CNBC for business news. http://blogs.ajc.com/radio-tv-talk/2010/12/15/cnn-posts-lowest-total-viewership-ratings-in-more-than... [...]

LIBERALS ARE DONE

December 16th, 2010
7:21 pm

@stuart

Since when was bill kristol the man behind the mirror at fox?? Any news organization like CNN and MSNBC who both hail julian assage a HERO and feel pity for bernie madoff….HAS PROVEN THAT THEY HAVE 0 CREDIBILITY! See the ratings as further evidence! Only idiots and blow hards like you would rebuke the obvious and legit facts such as the ratings. Blame kristol who is a contributor on fox( does not have his own show…learn the difference) all you want but in the end, the ratings is the tell all of truths!! You wouldn’t know a fact if it fell on your face i’m sure but you can continue to watch a sinking ship such as liberalism. ( SEE THE ELECTION RESULTS FOR PROOF OF THAT)

Liberals are like a blind man trying to describe what a rainbow looks like if you could imagine that conversation?! As i always say about liberals…YOU CAN’T FIX STUPID!

HAHAHA

December 16th, 2010
7:28 pm

You reap what you sow!

Amelia Island

December 16th, 2010
7:30 pm

Fox News…What a bunch of CRAP…….

LIBERALS ARE DONE

December 16th, 2010
7:36 pm

@FAKE NEWS

Since when are INDEPENDENTS known as RIGHT WINGERS which do make up a large audience on fox? There are democrats who watch the show as well. If you saw the email segments which clearly show liberals watch, you would know this. You just proved the point that you guys are clueless. Try watching before you bash! They have liberals who work for fox news all over the place! You get FAIR AND BALANCED WHEN YOU OFFER AN ARGUMENT ON BOTH SIDES!

I like something that offers both sides a chance to have their say! There is nothing of substance on CNN and conservative bashing plays almost 24 hours! YAWN!!!!! Thus, the birth of the news ratings which will back up what i’m telling you! Don’t let the facts get in the way. Give me legit LIES that fox news has told? Enlighten me with some substance not rhetoric! Let’s hear these PROVEN lies and not just what YOUR opinion is!

LIBERALS ARE JOKES

December 16th, 2010
7:46 pm

@ Amelia Island

Make sure you continue to support CNN and MSNBC as they are the elite in news broadcast per the ratings!

Yeah….if you live ON FANTASY ISLAND that is! Do you morons know that less than 20% of america are liberals? I love how the 20% in the minority tell the rest of america we are idiots basically. You guys want to ruin christmas, claim kids shouldn’t say the pledge, call our soldiers murderers who defends our country and give YOU the right to even protest! What’s next? I guess liberals will try to strip july 4th and claim that it is offensive some how? Go crawl back into your sewers! It’s been stimulating, but i’m out!

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Commonsenseagitator

December 16th, 2010
7:46 pm

I havent watched since they fired Rick Sanchez for speaking the truth.
Liberals are done go to this link if you want the truth otherwise shut your piehole http://www.ceasespin.org/ceasespin_blog/ceasespin_blogger_files/fox_news_gets_okay_to_misinform_public.html

Commonsenseagitator

December 16th, 2010
7:49 pm

Amazing how many idiotic rethuglicans there are in this state, when the yankees moved in they shipped common sense out

Bill Orvis White

December 16th, 2010
7:49 pm

@Fake News
FOX News is connecting with a vast majority of Americans on several socio-economic levels. Even though they might be on vastly different income levels, they share a common bond of a dedication to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, God, country, religious convictions, rugged individualism and most of all, freedom — freedom to choose your own way of life.

Far left liberals all say that anyone right of center is not thinking for himself. Well, not everyone right of center can clearly articulate my aforementioned talking points and that’s where folk like Rush, Sean, Neal and the FOX team come in. They say it better than anyone else. For example, @cookieman complemented me up there on the board because I said some of these points better than he could write them down here, but that doesn’t mean @cookieman can’t think for himself. To say otherwise is snobbish of you and that’s a major characteristic of far-left secular-progressives from the coasts. They live in their own world which they feel that the rest of the world needs to conform to. Guess what, you East Coast elitists: life doesn’t end at the East River. It actually begins there because you elitists live in a fantasyworld of high taxe$, Godlessness and debauchery. Yes, they’re latte-sipping, $6 a copy Sunday New York Times reading, Columbia-”educated”, BMW-hybrid-driving, anti-military, pro-Big Gov’t confiscating useful idiots.

Merry Christmas,
Bill

td

December 16th, 2010
7:52 pm

Fake News

December 16th, 2010
6:54 pm

“You will never, ever, never here any criticism of the right on Fox, which is the propaganda arm (and a very effective one) for the GOP”

This just proves you do not know what you are talking about. If you have ever watched Fox or listened to Rush you would know that they kill Republicans everyday for acting like liberals. Example: Rush told the Republicans names of every Republican that has pork earmarks in the current spending bill.

What you libs do not understand is that Rush and Hannity are not Republicans. They are conservatives and bring you the conservative philosophy everyday. If the Republicans stray from conservatism then they let all of their listeners know. Keith and Rachel do the same thing on the liberal side on their shows every night on MSNBC. These folks are true believers. Most of the other shows are in it for the money or what is in their best interest at the time (they have no true core believes).

Real News

December 16th, 2010
7:53 pm

“Plus, liberals think for themselves and don’t require having their opinions reinforced”- Fake news

Mmmh. That’s interesting. So liberals think for themselves according to fake news. Is he referring to all them homeless and poor people who the Dems pay $5 every election cycle to round up on a bus, take em to the polls, and vote for whatever Dems they see on the ticket. Are those cattle the self thinking Dems to whom this blogger refers? The ones that are so stupid and such sheeple that the Dems round them up, bus em to the polls, and pay em $5 to vote Democratic? Are they the self thinking liberals to whom he refers? Or maybe he’s referring to all the liberals in big Urban centers like Detroit- Kwame Brown and DC- Marion Barry who are so self thinking that they keep electing criminals and crooks like Marion Barry over and over and over.

What it must be to be an enlightened self thinking follower of Marion Barry?

Wake Up America!

December 16th, 2010
7:58 pm

CNN sold its soul when it began promoting the so-called “tea party,” the special operations arm of the Republican Party in an effort to get a handle on competitive ratings with Fox News. CNN’s bread and butter over the years was that it was the “hard news” cable channel that people could rely upon to separate fact from fiction. It has lost that touch and its talking heads out of Washington are very weak when it comes to analyzing domestic and world problems. There are still some strengths, but the overall on air talent for news leaves a lot to be desired. Give CNN credit though for its weather and business folks.

Bill O'Reilly

December 16th, 2010
8:00 pm

C’mon people quit being PINHEADS! The real reason Fox News spanks the rest of them is we have the HOTTEST newswomen in the biz….and they have very smart brains to go with the looks and offer up intelligent thoughts. It’s impossible for me to even try and rank my Top Five women here with so many choices!