MSNBC, CNN Make Scatter Pricing Gains, Fox Still Tops In Viewing

Fox News Channel still commands the top spot in terms of viewership, with rising ad revenue, but MSNBC and CNN have been making sharper 30-second commercial pricing gains in the first half of this year.

In that time, MSNBC has seen rocketing price hikes for prime-time programming -- up 129% to now average $13,550 for a 30-second commercial in June. It was $5,927 in January.

CNN was 31% higher to $9,451 during the January-to-June period (from $7,192), while Fox rose 22% to $10,095 (from $8,285.)

The data is courtesy of SQAD, a media cost data/ad-planning company, which analyzed scatter advertising deals -- near-term, month-by-month, TV advertising deals.

One of the biggest changes month-to-month came in March/April. The average ad costs for MSNBC rose 58%, while CNN costs were 33% higher and while at Fox News, they fell 17%.

CNN posted its best results in April at $11,440 -- topping both Fox and MSNBC for the best average prime-time results among the three networks. Fox had its highest average commercial pricing that month ($10,739).

Weekday morning programming deals are also higher.

MSNBC has seen a 31% increase to $2,950 for a 30-second commercial in June. Fox News Channel is 7% higher, now averaging $3,937 for a 30-second commercial in June. CNN dropped 45% to $1,121.

For those morning programming time periods, MSNBC posted its highest average price for a commercial in April: $3,991. Fox News got its best pricing in March: $4,374. CNN also did its best that month: $2,297.

Fox News Channel maintains tops in viewing for all TV broadcast and cable networks overall: Second-quarter viewership was down 4% to a total day Nielsen 1.41 million viewers; MSNBC, 5% higher to 930,000; and CNN, down 16% to 658,000.

For prime time, Fox News Channel grew 4% to 2.45 million viewers, while MSNBC was up 6% 1.74 million and CNN grew 12% to 929,000.

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