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2012 Election Ratings: A Split Decision At The Business Networks


In addition to the broadcasters and “big three” cable news channels, the cable business networks provided election coverage of their own on Tuesday night. Not surprisingly, the ratings were much, much smaller than the other networks, and much closer too.

From 7 PM to 1 AM, CNBC averaged 322,000 total viewers, while Fox Business Network averaged 284,000 viewers. In the adults 25-54 demo, FBN was on top with 138,000 viewers to CNBC’s 136,000. Note: both networks went past 1 AM, which included President Obama’s acceptance speech, however that hour was listed as paid programming on FBN, so those numbers were not immediately available. Bloomberg TV isn’t rated by Nielsen, and thus is not included.

Compared to election night 2008, CNBC was down -27% in total viewers and -13% in the demo, echoing the performance of most of the other news channels on election night. FBN was up substantially from 2008, but at that time it was not yet a full-service client of Nielsen, and was only a year old.

Leading up to the election coverage from 5-7 PM, CNBC had a special two-hour “Squawk Box,” while FBN had new editions of “Varney & Co. and “Lou Dobbs Tonight.” As with the election coverage, FBN led in the demo during both hours, while CNBC was tops in both hours in total viewers.

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