National TV News Viewing Surpasses 2016

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Author: Wayne Friedman. Source: MediaPost

National TV news viewing remains strong year-to-date -- even more than last year, despite election-year results.

Pivotal Research Groups says all network TV news viewing through November 12 -- on broadcast and cable -- is up 6% versus the same time period a year ago.

Viewing among the three big cable networks -- MSNBC, CNN and Fox News Channel -- is 15% higher than a year ago, with the broadcast networks down 8%.

“During a year where most TV viewing is declining significantly, the genre represents a key area of growth for the industry,” writes Brian Wieser, senior media analyst for Pivotal.

Looking at the most recent week -- which held the presidential election a year ago -- national TV news programming was down 61%. But viewing is 27% higher versus the same week in 2013. Since then, MSNBC has grown 155% in total viewership, while CNN has added 100%. Fox News is flat.

Now, NBCUniversal and Fox each command a 30% share of total national TV viewing among all their respective networks/programming, analyzing year-to-date results. Time Warner is at 20%. CBS and ABC each have 9%.

Pivotal estimates national TV news programming in 2016 amounted to 44 billion person-hours of Nielsen live-plus-same day viewing across all dayparts and all viewers -- 12% of total national TV viewing hours and 374 billion person-hours, when looking at live-plus-seven days of time-shifted viewing.