Politics Fuels Cable News' Uptick In Viewership

For some of the major cable players -- Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN -- it is a ratings bonanza. But how long can this last?

The daily drama of the Trump Administration  -- on “both sides” -- as the President might say, will continue well into the new year.

News content will see a boost from the all-important midterm 2018 elections, when the entire House of Representatives is up for another term and one-third of the Senate.

But more importantly, there is continued drama around whatever news comes out of the Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Some analysts expect these efforts/disclosures will continue for most of 2018.

Will there be more indictments, deals, leaks and sources?

Political journalism — especially from major print-based publications and electronic news organizations — will continue to feed the beast. And there may be other disruptions: What politician or government official might be on the outs or even fired in 2018?



To look ahead, we look back.

Here is some data for the 2017 year, from 12/26/16 through 12/10/17. In prime time, Fox News Channel was flat in total viewers versus the same period the year before at 2.4 million, while MSNBC was up a massive 50% to 1.6 million and CNN was down 15% to 1.1 million.

Total day viewership for all three main news channel was higher. Fox News Channel added 8% to 1.5 million, while MSNBC was boosted 47% to 885,000 and CNN inched up 4% to 783,000.

Viewing among the three big cable networks -- MSNBC, CNN and Fox News Channel -- is up a collective 15% versus a year ago, with the broadcast networks down 8%. Overall, national TV viewing is 6% higher than a year ago -- still the only TV category to see gains.

Expect more presidential drama to come -- and even some comedy. One key word for 2017: Covfefe, as in "despite the constant negative press covfefe." 

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