Major Events Boost TV News Viewership, Advertising Follows

Spiking viewership on cable TV news networks during high-level news events, such as the U.S. pulling out of Afghanistan, gave a boost to all the major networks over the last several days.

Are TV advertisers getting benefits as well? How is social media doing news-wise with marketers now?

Many news-centric TV marketers continue to be a consistent presence on TV -- in thick and thin -- perhaps taking a pause or a shift in program scheduling due a controversial remark by some over-opinionated, little fact-based prime-time host.

Top marketers on MSNBC in terms of impressions over the past two weeks, according to, were: Liberty Mutual, Citi, Verizon, Progressive, Amazon Web Services, Allstate, Jeep, Abbott, USAA and Angi.

The top three overall paid ad categories: insurance, autos, banking/legal.

For CNN, it was Carvana, Citi, ADT, Noom, IHOP, Amazon Web Services, Liberty Mutual, Maune Raichle Hartley, Whole Foods Market and Indeed. The top three paid ad categories in terms of overall impressions were: insurance, business/legal, electronics/communications.



Fox News Channel had Balance of Nature, NewDay USA, Liberty Mutual, Verizon, Relief Factor, Golden Corral, USAA, Nutrisystem, ADT and Indeed. The top categories were: insurance, health/beauty and pharmaceutical/medical

As you can see, there can be much overlap of advertisers on these TV news networks. If you look at data from a year ago -- at the height of the presidential election and the pandemic -- you’d see similar results.

Marketers, of course, can’t predict when news will spike -- apart from election periods. News events such as riots, country-related skirmishes, violence, major weather incidents can offer a quick uptick in viewers.

TV marketers are increasingly counting on the consistency of key older news viewers -- in particular the 25-54 crowd, as well as 60+ audience -- to be there.

If there seems to be a stronger focus on TV news networks these days -- even amid some controversial issues of content -- the more important factor is how that content is consumed — on a live, real-time basis.

TV news channels can do better with marketers these days, due to the scarcity of live, linear TV content overall. (Sports programmers make the same claim.)

But with the increasing number of U.S. consumers getting some/part/all of their news content from social media -- a trend that doesn’t seem to slow down -- will traditional TV news networks get dinged somewhat in the future? And will marketers follow?

1 comment about "Major Events Boost TV News Viewership, Advertising Follows".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, August 26, 2021 at 10:37 a.m.

    Wayne,  your typical 25-54-year-old- "news" viewer as about 40 years old and is a very light TV news viewer. Any advertiser who pays TV news' high CPMs to "target" these light news viewers is badly in need of sound media planning advice. Now 60+ is another matter as these are the primary news viewers and that's why one sees so many "pharma" ads in newcasts as well as the usual financial services, utility, insurance, tech and other commercials which are largely dictated by wanting to be in the "news environment". As I keep pointing out---over and over again--  25-54 is meaningless as a targeting metric. It is simply an audience guarantee "demo" decided upon by buyers and sellers decades ago as an alternative to the heavily duplicated but slightly younger---- and equally worthless--- 18-49 "demo"---for news which everyone agreed reached a mostly older audience. The TV news sellers are crazy to be garanteeing GRPs on 25-54 which accounts for about 20% of their audience delivery. This plays right into the buyers' hands, though it's not clear whether the buyers know this.

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