Monday’s New York Times has a piece on CNN talking about how CNN might actually finish fourth in the ratings for April and how that’s a bad thing. Here’s the headline:
With Rivals Ahead, Doubts for CNN’s Middle Road
I thought this part of the piece was more than illuminating:
Jim Walton, the president of CNN Worldwide, said CNN had posted double-digit profit growth for five straight years. SNL Kagan, a media research firm, backed those growth figures for CNN and estimates that for 2009, earnings for CNN (including HLN) before taxes and depreciation will be about $455 million.
Did MSNBC net $455 million dollars last year that I’m not aware of? Did the New York Times? What good are ratings points if you can’t make money delivering those viewers, or, in the case of the New York Times, readers?
MSNBC president Phil Griffin was quick to give advice to CNN, too:
“The people who watch these channels are news junkies,” said Phil Griffin, the president of MSNBC. “They’ve already had access to the headlines all day long on the Internet. In prime time you’ve got to stand out and make a splash.”
Splash must be defined has having Keith Olbermann compete with Headline News’s Nancy Grace at 8 p.m.
UPDATE: Just saw the actual ratings numbers from TV Newser. The difference between second and fourth is tiny:
CNN has finished the month of April in fourth place among the four cable news networks in the ad-friendly A25-54 demo in prime time. According to Nielsen Media Research, CNN finished the month with an average of 265,000 A25-54 viewers (Mon-Fri, 8pm-11pmET). Sister network HLN moved into third place with 274,000 A25-54 viewers on the continued success of Nancy Grace.
Fox News was far out front averaging 662,000 demo viewers, more than CNN and MSNBC combined. MSNBC placed second averaging 298,000 A25-54 viewers.