What's Behind the Ratings Slide for CNBC and Other Business News Networks? WSJ

Even though the stock market is soaring, the ratings for the cable networks that cover the market are going in the opposite direction, reports The Wall Street Journal.

CNBC, for instance, hit a 20-year low in the key 25-54 demographic in the third quarter. Average total daytime viewership has fallen by more than 50% since 2008 at the network, which is the leader in cable business news.

Fox Business Network’s average total daytime audience declined to 58,000 from 71,000 last year. Bloomberg is rethinking its TV network’s business model, after failing to either make a profit or gain 10% of the business news audience, the story adds.

So what’s behind the decline?

First, as competition increases, all cable networks are struggling to maintain their audiences, the story says. But the business networks have an additional issue.

“[B]usiness television has faced the added challenge that individual investors are fleeing the stock market as an increasing amount of trading is done by institutional investors and algorithms, market experts say. By one measure, individual investors have pulled more than $1.17 trillion from the equity mutual funds tracked by research firm EPFR since the beginning of 2008,” the story reports.

CNBC has seen little impact on its financial performance, the report notes, as advertisers continue to find the audience attractive. But despite CNBC’s revamp of its prime-time schedule to include reality programming and entertainment, ratings in the evening have fallen this year, the piece notes.

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