CNN Ratings Surge as Ferguson Verdict and Unrest Drive Viewers to Cable News
One of the interesting things about unrest and calamity is that it drives television viewership and ratings upward. We're all familiar with the saying "If it bleeds, it leads" in regards to the nightly news. Well true to form the recent announcement of the grand jury decision in Ferguson led to a viewer bonanza for cable news channels CNN and Fox News Channel.
CNN made out best scoring a huge bump in evening viewership, and seizing the number one spot among the 25-54 age demographic. When the verdict was announced CNN hit 3.15 million viewers in the news demo — with a total 6.25 million viewers. FNC, which averaged 2.18 million adults 25-54, had the night's peak audience with an average 7.25 million tuning in.
These numbers easily outpaced the viewership for "Election Night" earlier in November. And you can see why there's a battle to score "must get" first interviews including ABC paying an reputed $500K to killer-cop Darren Wilson. And there's been no indication of an audience backlash against the networks, sponsors or brands that are featured during these broadcasts.
Look for cable news to keep feeding the audience and going wall-to-wall with their coverage. As marketers it seems controversies and eye-balls still sell.