Clinton’s Good News for Cable Nets

Aug 27, 2008  •  Post A Comment

New York Sen. Hillary Clinton’s address on the second night of the Democratic National Convention in Denver was very good for the cable news networks. They rang up a second consecutive night of double-digit ratings bounces compared to the second night of the Democrats’ gathering July 27, 2004.
Continuing its pattern of making ratings hay on big Democratic nights, CNN once again came out on top of the prime-time competition for viewers. During the 10-11:15 p.m. time frame covering Sen. Clinton’s speech, CNN attracted an average 4.86 million viewers, making it No. 1 for the time period in all of cable and outdrawing ABC News’ and CBS News’ coverage of the speech.
A lead-in from “America’s Got Talent” helped NBC News finish first among the broadcast networks’ prime-time coverage.
Nielsen Media Research estimated 25.97 million viewers tuned in to see Sen. Clinton urge her supporters to vote for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama during the 10-11:15 p.m. block on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, BET and TV One. That number is up from the 22.3 million who watched aspiring first lady Michelle Obama’s address to the convention at approximately the same time on the same outlets Monday.
During the Clinton hour, Fox News Channel finished second to CNN with an average 3.48 million viewers, followed by MSNBC third with 2.57 million.
For the 8-11 p.m. prime-time block, CNN averaged more than 3.4 million viewers, up 44% from four years ago.
Fox News Channel finished a close second with 3.3 million viewers, up 42% compared with 2004.
MSNBC averaged 1.99 million viewers, up 42% versus 2004.
Among viewers 25 to 54 years old, the demo coveted by the news networks, CNN again led with an average of nearly 1.4 million viewers, up 134% from 2004. Fox averaged 823,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo, up 8% compared with 2004. MSNBC averaged 785,000 viewers, up 55% versus 2004.
NBC again won the 10 p.m. battle of the broadcast networks and CBS again finished third Tuesday night.
Final national data showed NBC’s Brian Williams-anchored hour was up 1.15 million viewers from Monday night to average 6 million viewers.
ABC News’ hour, anchored by Charles Gibson, George Stephanopoulos and Diane Sawyer, was up from Monday night by 1.02 million viewers to post an average of 4.8 million viewers Tuesday.
CBS’ hour, anchored by Katie Couric, Bob Schieffer and Jeff Greenfield, gained some 280,000 viewers from Monday to average 3.39 million viewers Tuesday.
For the second consecutive night, only ABC’s convention coverage grew compared with its entertainment lead-in, picking up some 800,000 viewers from “Wanna Bet.”
NBC’s convention special lost nearly 4.9 million from the audience for the network’s summer hit “America’s Got Talent.”
CBS’ convention coverage lost more than 2.23 million viewers from “Big Brother 10.”
There are no comparisons for the broadcast networks to the second night of the Democratic convention on July 27, 2004, because none of them covered it, but the three nets’ convention specials on Monday lost a combined 1 million viewers compared to opening night in 2004.
The extended coverage by PBS Tuesday averaged a 2.0 rating/3 share during the 8-11 p.m. block in 52 Nielsen overnight markets. That’s down from the 2.9 rating/4 share in the overnights for the same night in 2004.

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