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2012 Conventions

Cable Ranker: During DNC Fox News Maintains Slight Lead, While MSNBC Sets Ratings Record

The Democratic National Convention provided an enormous ratings boost to the cable news channels last week, with MSNBC and CNN in particular seeing dramatic ratings increases. Whereas last week Fox News was the number one cable channel on all of TV, with CNN and MSNBC in the top 25, this week Fox News was 3rd in primetime and 4th in total day among ad-supported cable networks, with MSNBC and CNN cracking the top 10.

FNC averaged 1.99 million total viewers in primetime, and 1.18 million in total day.

MSNBC placed 4th in primetime for the week with 1.92 million viewers, and 12th in total day with 777,000 viewers. The network also set a ratings record however in M-F primetime ratings, winning the week for the first time ever in total viewers. CNN was on top by 7,000 viewers in the demo, but it was a notable moment for MSNBC nonetheless.

CNN was 6th in primetime and 14th in total day, averaging 1.85 million and 683,000 viewers, respectively.

HLN was 40th in primetime and 42nd in total day with 322,000 and 245,000 viewers, respectively. Current TV saw a bit of a ratings bump, placing 88th in primetime and total day, averaging 54,000 and 36,000 viewers, respectively.

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Analysis, Commentary, Cheerleading And Pooh-Poohing, The AP Reviews Convention Coverage

The AP’s David Bauder reviews the coverage of the 2012 political conventions, and finds them wanting for hard news. Rather, he argues, the biul of the coverage was spent on what was essentially “theater criticism”: how effective were the speeches? Who won? Who lost? rather than the content within them.

“I don’t think the coverage overall deserves too much criticism,” said longtime CBS anchor and current AXS-TV host Dan Rather. “But if there is any criticism – and I don’t exempt myself at all from this – is that there is not enough analysis and way too much commentary.”

Rather sheepishly admitted to tweeting that Clinton had hit “a home run” in his convention speech.

Behind the Scenes at the DNC with Megyn Kelly

One more convention story before we move on to the general election coverage: Megyn Kelly took a break from her DNC anchoring to give viewers a behind-the-scenes tour of the Fox News setup in Charlotte. Watch:

35.7 Million Watch Obama DNC Speech, Down from 38.3 Million in ’08

An estimated 35.7 million people watched the third and final night of the 2012 Democratic National Convention, which culminated in the acceptance speech of Pres. Barack Obama. The closing night of the DNC was carried live across 13 TV networks. Four years ago, when candidate Obama gave his nomination acceptance speech, a record 38.3 million watched.

FNC, NBC Claim Wins Over Six Days of Conventions

When added up, Fox News had the most-watched 10pm convention coverage over the six days of the RNC and DNC. Despite a dearth of interest from Obama supporters to watch Fox News during the DNC, the network drew big crowds during the RNC.

Fox News averaged 5.34 million total viewers at 10pm topping the three broadcast networks. NBC News drew the most A25-54 viewers, averaging 1.94 million. FNC had the most-watched night of all networks when 9.1 million watched the 10pm hour of Thurs., Aug. 30, Mitt Romney‘s acceptance speech.

  • Six-night averages. Cable nets from 10-11pm; broadcast nets from 10-around 11:15pm (varies each night.)

FNC: 5.337M viewers (1.420M in A25-54)
NBC: 5.033M viewers (1.940M in A25-54)
ABC: 3.664M viewers (1.320M in A25-54)
CBS: 3.397M viewers (1.259M in A25-54)
CNN: 3.121M viewers (1.147M in A25-54)
MSNBC: 2.972M viewers (1.012M in A25-54)

    Interestingly, Fox News averaged more viewers for its DNC coverage (2.6M) than MSNBC (1.4M) and CNN (1.33M) averaged for their RNC coverage. Overall the DNC was watched more than the RNC on cable, especially among younger viewers:

  • Combined primetime (8-11pm) viewing on FNC, CNN and MSNBC:

RNC (Aug. 28-30): 8.611M viewers (2.234M in A25-54)
DNC (Sept. 4-6): 9.390M viewers (2.915M in A25-54)

MSNBC’s DNC 2012 Up Double Digits from ’08

While Fox News cleaned up at the RNC, MSNBC won big at the DNC. Check out the chart below which shows MSNBC’s growth since the democrats met four years ago — up +48% in primetime and total day viewership. MSNBC’s gain is CNN’s loss. The network is down -25% in primetime and -21% in total day vs. the 2008 DNC. FNC,  too is down -18% in primetime and down -13% in total day vs. DNC ’08. The younger viewer numbers are also up for MSNBC and down for both CNN and FNC.

NBC Wins Final Night of DNC; CNN #1 on Cable

NBC wins the final night of the Democratic National Convention drawing more than 7 million viewers for its two-hour primetime special last night. On cable, CNN won its first convention night in both primetime, and the crucial 10pm hour. After MSNBC took night one, and they split night two, on night three, CNN won in both Total Viewers and A25-54 demo viewers.

  • Cable News Primetime (8-11pm). Night three of the DNC, Sept. 6, 2012

CNN: 4,105,216 total viewers (1,557,165 in 25-54)
MSNBC: 3,610,875 total viewers (1,289,781 in 25-54)
FNC: 2,659,051 total viewers (672,749 in 25-54)

While NBC led the way, cable networks CNN and MSNBC were watched by more viewers than ABC and CBS.

  • Sept. 6, 2012. Night three of the DNC:

NBC (9-11:11pm): 7.377 viewers (3.088M in A25-54)
CNN (10-11pm): 5.562 viewers (2.201M in A25-54)
MSNBC (10-11pm): 4.547 viewers (1,776M in A25-54)
ABC (10-11:11pm): 3.995 viewers (1.524M in A25-54)
CBS (10-11:12pm): 3.294 viewers (1.383M in A25-54)
FNC (10-11pm): 2.855 viewers (808K in 25-54)

The Political Conventions As TV Spectacle

Time‘s TV critic James Poniewozik examines the 2012 Republican and Democratic conventions as the TV spectacles they are. Yes, he talks about the ratings spin, but he also addresses a larger question: how much do the conventions matter, and how much TV coverage is warranted?

If conventions are no longer about convincing the undecided, is there still as much public interest in networks carrying them? TV has cut back in recent conventions to begin with, for self-interested reasons but also on the grounds that they’re really free political advertising. But at least there’s an argument for free political advertising, if genuinely undecided viewers are looking to it for information to make a decision. If conventions are more and more about base-motivation, TV coverage is less a public service to the viewers and more a public service to the parties. (Though one argument for that, maybe, is that it’s massive “free media” that balances out the influence of political-ad money.)

Willie Geist Still a Man on the Go

Just a few weeks ago, TVNewser took note of the busy post-Olympics schedule maintained by MSNBC anchor Willie Geist.

And while the center of news may have shifted since – on to Tampa and now to Charlotte – looks like nothing’s really changed much for Geist. Fresh from morning patrol this week at the DNC, he headed over to a Charlotte recording studio to lay down track for an upcoming Discovery Channel special he’s narrating. It’s Geist’s first collaboration with the network.

The 9/11 Surfer features an exclusive broadcast interview with Pasquale Buzzelli, whose story of survival is one of the last to be widely reported. It airs on Discovery at 8pmET on September 11.

A preview clip, after the jump…

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Limited Capacity of Charlotte’s Time Warner Cable Arena Leaves Networks Scrambling

The DNC winds down tonight as Barack Obama officially accepts his party’s nomination for President. Obama’s speech was originally set to happen at the 74,000-seat Bank of America Stadium, a plan which was scrapped due to a forecast of storms. With weather and venue change concerns out of the way, the cable and broadcast networks have a new problem: the capacity of the Time Warner Cable Arena.

Insiders tell us the venue was filled to capacity shortly after 8pmET last night, more than two hours before Bill Clinton‘s speech. NBC’s David Gregory, Fox News Channel’s Ed Henry and ABC’s Jake Tapper were all locked out for a time, though all three eventually made it inside. Guests with planned appearances from the skyboxes were also stranded outside, leaving the cable networks to shuffle their lineups.

TVNewser hears that cable and broadcast networks are telling all on-air talent and guests to be inside the arena tonight two hours before the speeches begin — which is right around now — to avoid a repeat situation. We also hear the DNC’s Organizing Committee is asking that the networks only allow “essential” personnel in, warning that staffers will be turned away if capacity is reached.

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