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  • CNN's on, but who's watching?

       June 24, 2004

    This post on links picks up on a Washington Post story about CNN losing audio for 20 mins yesterday. The Post reports:

    After CNN lost audio, its audience plunged by nearly 300,000 viewers from the 420,000 who had been watching between 12:30 and 1 p.m., when the network was still offering the convenience of sound.

    Still, from 1 to 1:30 p.m., CNN averaged 121,000 viewers; simultaneously, 139,000 people watched "MSNBC Live" with anchors Alison Stewart, Laurie Jennings and Sam Shane talking about former president Bill Clinton's autobiography, the South Korean then held hostage in Iraq, and the murder trial of Scott Peterson.

    Ok, so CNN lost 300,000 viewers, and this article points out that they *still* had about as many viewers as MSNBC. Very cute. But is the following “lesson learned” being cited in jest or in seriousness?”

    Among the lessons learned: It appears 18-to-34-year-olds would rather watch CNN without sound than MSNBC with sound. In that Monday half-hour, about twice as many viewers in that demographic were tuned to CNN as MSNBC.

    Is this really the lesson learned? Why isn’t the "lesson learned" instead “it appears that about 100,000 CNN viewers aren’t even actually ‘viewing’ CNN - instead they flip on CNN then leave for the day.” I know that CNN is on all day long at airports, restaurants, lobbies, etc. Is anyone actually watching?

    I ask the question in all seriousness, especially in light of the recent newspaper circulation scandals at Newsday and the Chicago Sun Times. In case you haven’t been keeping up, it seems that both of those papers, and possibly others, have been grossly over-reporting (e.g. lying about) their circulation numbers. If CNN loses sound and 100,000 people still watch, isn’t that the same thing as a newspaper putting out a blank edition and still claiming 100,000 “readers?”

    I realize that there are differences in the reporting mechanisms, and that CNN at least still had video, but really, it begs the question. Philosophers contemplate the age old question, "If a tree falls in the forest, and there's no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?" Similarly, if CNN falls silent on 100,000 TV sets, and no one bothers to change the channel, is anyone really "watching?"

    If I were an advertiser, I'd sure like to know.

    Posted by jkhat at June 24, 2004 11:35 AM

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    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: brett at June 25, 2004 02:47 PM

    whoever came up with the numbers is ignoring that cnn is on w/o sound in pretty much every gym in the nation during that time

    that plus the airports (& my stupid vee-dub dealership ugh)

    hawkins (rwn) said visit your site...not bad

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: addison at June 25, 2004 11:00 PM

    In Dulles, Columbia's (SC) airport, Baltimore's, Houston's, and San Antonio's the televisions throughout stay on CNN all day.

    Also, every post office that has televisions is tuned to CNN.

    And, in many hotels that have limited cable channels, the only 24-hour news channel that can be had is CNN.

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: addison at June 25, 2004 11:01 PM

    I should have written "...every post office I've been in..." not "...every post office..." because I have not visited them all, of course.

    #  March 7th, 2005 6:48 PM      Converted_Comment
    Converted comment: Posted by: jkhat at June 26, 2004 10:20 AM





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