Cable TV News Networks Grow 31% In Prime-Time Ad Revenue May-July, Fox News Tops

In this big political election year, cable TV news networks have seen 30%-plus prime-time advertising revenue growth -- with Fox News Channel the strongest performer.

In the most recent three-month period -- May through July -- prime-time ad revenues rose 31.5% to $158.7 million (8 p.m. to 11 p.m.) versus the previous three-month period (February through April), according to Standard Media Index's Accu-TV.

Fox News Channel posted the best results, rising 44.3% to $79.7 million for May through July, while CNN gained 28.4% to $45.7 million and MSNBC was 11.8% higher to $33.3 million.

Looking at the entire six-month period, SMI says “Tucker Carlson Tonight” pulled in $37.2 million as the best Fox News prime-time performer. Right behind was “The Ingraham Angle” ($36.6 million) and “Hannity” ($36.2 million)

MSNBC's top show was “The Rachel Maddow Show” -- $20.8 million, while CNN's “Cuomo Prime Time” and “Anderson Cooper 360” tied with $19.1 million.

For the six-month period overall, the three networks pulled in $219.7 million.

SMI data comes from raw invoices -- actual dollar amounts spent on each ad buy -- from six of the seven media agency holding groups as well as independent media agencies, making up 85% of the national TV market.

SMI's Accu-TV claims accuracy of between 96% to 99% against networks' internal numbers.

For the most recent month of August -- which included both the virtual Democratic National Convention and the Republican National Convention -- ratings grew for all three networks in prime time, with Fox News Channel maintaining its big viewership lead.

During the prime-time 8 to 11 p.m. time period, Fox was up 49% to 3.6 million Nielsen-measured viewers, while MSNBC was 48% higher to 2.2 million and CNN was 15% higher to 1.7 million.

Total day viewing was also up sharply -- with Fox adding 32% to 1.7 million, MSNBC growing 44% to 1.3 million and CNN rising 47% to 1.0 million.

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