34 years ago today, the switch was flipped and C-SPAN roared to life, providing cable viewers a chance to see inside the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate Chambers.
To commemorate the anniversary, C-SPAN had Hart Research conduct a survey to figure out just how many people watch the channel, and what walks of life they come from. As a commercial-free non-profit channel, C-SPAN is not rated by Nielsen Media Research.
According to the survey, 24% of cable households watch C-SPAN at least once a week: that’s an estimated 47 million adults, and it is up 4 points from the last survey, which was conducted four years ago. In a stark contrast to the other cable news channels, a plurality of C-SPAN’s viewers are aged 18-49, with 28% watching once a week, compared to 19% for those aged 50-64 and 22% 64 and older.
“This growth in C-SPAN viewership, especially among the youngest groups, is surprising in this time of generalized media fragmentation but it is not so mysterious in that C-SPAN offers the emerging group of information free-agents access to the raw uncut coverage of their political heroes, and sometimes perhaps their villains, they can then share on blogs and social networks,” said Hart Research lead pollster Allan Rivlin in a statement.