TV News Viewing Soars, Cable Rises

TV news viewing hours -- from TV cable news networks and broadcast programming -- are on a high.

Pivotal Research Group says that year-to-date “person-viewing” hours of Nielsen live-plus-same day viewing for all national news programming -- cable news networks and individual broadcast programs -- have seen a 11% gain, and 13% higher in the most recent week ending March 26.

Looking only at the three biggest cable news networks -- CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC -- viewing is up 28% year to date, and 28% higher for the most recent week.

Brian Wieser, senior research analyst at Pivotal, writes: “Media network news divisions are currently experiencing a renaissance of sorts, despite the rising availability of news in digital environments and general weakness in the broader television business.”

In 2016, national TV news programming was 21% higher over the year before, amounting to 44 billion person-viewing hours -- 12% of the all national TV.



Cable news networks CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC rocketed up 46% in 2016 over 2015. Those networks accounted for 55% of all national news consumption in 2016, up from 45% the previous year. All other national TV rated person-viewing hours fell in by 1% in 2016.

Looking at TV network group owners, Fox had a 30% share, NBCUniversal, 28%; Time Warner, 21%;  Disney and CBS each with 10% shares, and Univision, a 3% share. Focusing on the three cable news networks, Fox News Channel had 51% share; CNN, 27%; and MSNBC, a 22% share.

For the most recent week, MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” had the most person-viewing hours -- 23.4 million, more than double last year’s 9.3 million.

Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” was next, around 23 million; CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” was at 22.5 million; Fox News “Tucker Carlson Tonight” at 22.5 million; “The O’Reilly Factor” with 18.3 million; and “Hannity” 17.4 million.

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