Has the influence of cable news peaked?
That’s the conclusion of PEWs Project for Excellence in Journalism.
According to their 2011 State of the News Media study all four cable networks saw their prime-time audiences fall in 2010.
MSNBC, Fox, HLN, and CNN lost between 39,000 and 331,000 viewers as cable — the fourth most popular platform for news — showed signs of becoming less important.
Fox News lost a whopping 11% of its prime time viewers (234,000 viewers), but that’s not even the worst performance of the cablers.
In 2010, about 42 million different people watched CNN for at least an hour a month. That was more than Fox's 41 million and MSNBC's 37 million.*
*According to Nielsen Media Research.
The median prime-time viewership at the three channels together dropped 16% to an average of 3.2 million viewers.
MSNBC experienced the mildest drop in audience, falling 5% to 747,000 in prime time. That was of loss of 39,000 viewers.
HLN lost 17% of its prime-time viewers, falling to an average of 434,000 after a loss of 89,000 people.
The prime-time audience at Fox fell 11% to a median viewership of 1.9 million. It lost 234,000 viewers.
CNN saw the most severe fall-off. Median prime-time viewership plunged 37% in 2010 to 564,000 viewers. It lost 331,000 viewers.
The same pattern occurred during daytime hours. Daytime audience for cable news fell 12%, as a median figure of 1.9 million people watched on any typical day.
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