Monday, March 14, 2011

Cable News Ops Join Network News in Downward Spin

TV Guide #2015Image by trainman74 via FlickrCable news viewership has stalled and network evening news ratings continued to shrink for a thirtieth consecutive year, according to the annual Project for Excellence in Journalism State of the News Media report released today.

As reported by Broadcasting & Cable and The Hollywood Reporter, evening newscasts by the former "Big 3" networks plunged 3.4 percent in viewership compared to the previous year. The Brian Williams-anchored NBC Nightly News suffered the least in 2010, dropping 1.4 percent to an average 8.5 million viewers nightly, compared to a 3.9 percent decline in viewers to 7.43 million for Diane Sawyer's ABC World News and the free-falling CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, which plummeted 5.5 percent to an average audience of 5.65 million.

Meanwhile, the news wasn't so bright for CNN, Fox News and MSNBC either, where the median prime-time  audience collectively shrank by 16 percent to 3.2 million, based on Nielsen Media Research figures. CNN led the march off the cliff, dropping 37 percent to 564,000 viewers, compared to Fox's 11 percent decline to 1.9 million viewers, and MSNBC's 5 percent drop-off to 747,000 watchers. Daytime viewership fell 12 percent for the cable threesome.

Online media, alone, saw its audience increase in 2010 by 17 percent. A December 2010, survey cited the Internet as the source for national and international news among 41 percent of respondents.

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