Media Blog

CNN Getting Huge Ratings with its Flight 370 Coverage

Have you watched CNN’s coverage of the missing Malaysian 777? It is inane. But, you can’t argue with the ratings. New York Times:

On CNN, the plane rises from misty clouds accompanied by an eerie background score while anchors offer intriguing details — some new, some days old — of the disappearance of Flight 370. The reports, broadcast continually, often are augmented by speculation — sometimes fevered, sometimes tempered — about where the flight might have come to rest. And viewers are eating it up.

The story of the vanished Boeing 777 jet has been exhaustively covered across every form of news media, with television generally leading the way. Each of the broadcast networks began its evening newscast with stories on the plane every night last week, a consensus that happens “once a year at most,” according to Andrew Tyndall, who publishes a weekly report monitoring newscasts.

But it is CNN, the cable network that has been scrambling to find a sustainable business model against its main competitors, Fox News and MSNBC, that has perhaps invested most heavily in the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

“It is a tremendous story that is completely in our wheelhouse,” said a senior CNN executive, who asked not to be identified defining the network’s strategy for its coverage. CNN’s ratings soared last week and over the weekend, rising by almost 100 percent in prime time. The network even managed the rare feat of edging past Fox News for leadership in several hours.

Last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, the CNN 8 p.m. program, hosted by Anderson Cooper, beat Fox’s perennial ratings giant, Bill O’Reilly, in the audience that attracts the most revenue for news channels, viewers between the ages of 25 and 54. It was the first time Mr. Cooper has ever topped Mr. O’Reilly in the group for three straight days. (Mr. O’Reilly still won the week in that category.)

CNN also won the 25-to-54 age group from 2 p.m. through 10 p.m. on Saturday, and initial numbers from Sunday indicate the network again led across many of the hours of the day. This is only the case among the specific demographic group preferred by news advertisers; Fox News, as it always does, dominated in terms of total viewers.

The rest here.

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