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‘Just As Most People Don’t Buy Playboy to Read the Articles, Most People Don’t Watch CNBC to Listen to Analysis’

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Much is being made of CNBC’s July ratings. After experiencing its best ratings in eight years for Q1 of this year, in July, the network was down 28% in Total Viewers and down 24% in A25-54 viewers, compared to last July.

Slate’s Daniel Gross gives his take on it: “The good news in the markets, paradoxically, has been bad news for CNBC. In the summer of 2008, you had to tune into CNBC every morning, afternoon, and evening — even on the weekends — to keep up with breaking news. Now, not so much.” Gross continues:

But I think something else is at work. Just as most people don’t buy Playboy to read the articles, most people don’t watch CNBC to listen to analysis. In fact, in many places — corporate offices, health clubs, bars, trading floors — the volume is generally muted. People keep CNBC on to see what stocks and bonds are doing and to see whether there’s any news – especially to see whether there’s any bad news.

“As the extreme volatility in the market has calmed, we have retained our traditional most affluent, most educated niche audience here in the United States,” spokesman Brian Steel tells TVNewser. “We have also experienced substantial growth in measured ratings in both Europe and Asia.”

Steel also says the network experienced, “record operating profit and revenue for the first half of 2009.” A number that, no doubt, matters most to NBC and corporate parent GE.

And, while the measured Nielsen ratings in the U.S. may not show it at the moment, Steel adds, “CNBC is stronger than it has ever been.”

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