CNN: Keeping The News To Themselves

Speaking of stats, here’s one you won’t find on CNN anytime soon:

NEW YORK ( — “I worry about CNN more than I do about”

Many news junkies already feel the same way, but when the person expressing concern about the state of the 24-hour TV news network is Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons, the guy who ultimately runs both properties, it’s pretty telling.

Mr. Parsons, who was discussing the company’s entire portfolio at a London media conference last week, was positive on the subject of AOL (“we have it in a nice track”) and slightly less effusive about Time Inc. (“they are going to be around for a long time, but they’re not going to grow like they have in the past”) but bordering on pessimistic about the state of his cable-news operation.

For good reason: CNN’s ratings have been on a steady decline since 2003, when it regularly got 689,000 households to tune in each day, to a low of 383,000 last year, according to Nielsen Media Research. For the first six months of this year, it’s up to 431,000. Fox News, its younger, more conservative competitor, routinely trounces it in the ratings, often garnering twice the household ratings and recently besting CNN in prime time for key coverage of the presidential debates.


Immediately after the 2004 presidential election, a Republican strategist told National Review that even though “The ferocity of the assault [by the MSM in general] was not anything anyone had ever seen before”, it was “important to remember that if something was on CNN in the middle of the afternoon, it was being seen by only a couple hundred thousand people.”

Will that number be even smaller in 2008? Maybe–which could be why Parsons seems to be sweating more than a little this year, as his “We are the Sioux nation” gaffe last month indicates.

Update: Speaking of gaffes, here’s the latest production from HBO, a division of Time-Warner.

Related: Yet another competitor to CNN’s daily viewership numbers emerges–or more accurately, converges

More: Uncorrelated notes:

Instapundit averages 190,000 a day. Huffpo gets 600,000 unique visitors every day.

Unfortunately for Glenn Reynolds, he’s getting nowhere near the 400 million in ad revenue CNN is getting for its poor performance.

That kind of revenue disparity is a signal for change. Instapundit’s demographic is almost certainly more interesting than CNN’s which averages nears 60 years old.

You’d think.


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