CNBC's Ratings Fall Off A Cliff

CNBC’s ratings are down almost 30 per cent year-over-year. Why?

There are lots of theories about what happened to CNBC’s viewers.

  • Dan Gross thinks Obama era viewers might be turned off by an alleged rightward political tilt.
  • Zerohedge, who started the conversation about CNBC’s ratings by publishing them last week, thinks it’s a failure to “report objective news.”
  • Barry Ritholz says that CNBC needs to be thought of as the Weather Channel or ESPN. If there’s a hurricane or a playoff, ratings will go way up. In normal times, ratings are just correlated with the market.

RItholz’s explanation seems the most persuasive.

“CNBC is a media venue that has surprisingly little control over its own fate. While network executives can occasionally make things better or worse via programming and staffing choices, the tidal wave of forces that ultimately determine the bulk of viewers is in reality far beyond their control,” he writes.

This morning Riholtz published this chart, from the Last Psychologist, which shows that CNBC ratings are highly correlated with market volatility. Actually, they seem to ancitipate volatility a bit, which might imply that you could make money by taking long volatility bets when CNBC’s ratings go up.

 

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