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Trump’s Speech Nabbed 32 Million Viewers on Broadcast and Cable TV

The Republican National Convention closed up shop last Thursday, concluding with the lengthy nomination acceptance speech by presidential hopeful Donald Trump. All three broadcast networks—ABC, CBS and NBC—as well as Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC and other affiliated cable TV channels aired the speech.

More from the Hollywood Reporter:

On the broadcast networks alone Thursday night, Trump’s time on the stage brought in 12.3 million viewers to the 10 o’clock hour on through the speech’s conclusion at 11:37 p.m. ET. NBC News led its fourth and final night of primetime coverage with an average 4.6 million viewers tuning in, per Nielsen Media’s Fast Affiliate ratings. ABC News, which preciously topped CBS on Monday, averaged 3.9 million viewers. CBS News took 3.8 million viewers. Spanish-language net Univision contributed another 1.3 million viewers.

Cable news brought the biggest lifts — particularly for Fox News Channel and CNN. FNC, a favorite for right-leaning audiences, topped them all with 9.4 million viewers. And CNN, hitting an all-time high for its RNC coverage, also topped all of the broadcast networks with 5.5 million viewers. MSNBC, trailing, averaged 2.95 million viewers. (Nielsen’s delivery of the 32-million stat also includes Fox Business Network, CNBC and NBC Universo.)

The ratings are well above those who watched Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech in 2012, but far below the amount of people who watched John McCain in 2008. If those ratings show anything about the popularity of the candidate himself, Trump may be in trouble.

The Democratic National Convention is now underway, so we’ll see how Hillary performs in the ratings, as well as in measured social media interest.

NBC to Provide Most Live Olympic Broadcast and Cable TV Coverage Ever

NBC and its related networks have covered the Olympics for years, with the major constant complaint about the networks’ coverage being that it doesn’t show enough in the way of live sports. NBC has responded to this complaint by saying that this Summer Games will feature the most live coverage of any Olympics that has ever happened, with 6,755 hours over many channels, most of them on cable TV. Here’s how it breaks down:

  • NBC – Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Beach Volleyball, Diving, Gymnastics, Swimming, Track & Field, Volleyball, Men’s and Women’s Basketball Gold Medal Games
  • NBCSN – Team USA Soccer, Team USA Men’s and Women’s Basketball Games, Track & Field, Archery, Boxing, Cycling, Fencing, Field Hockey, Judo, Open Water Swimming, Rugby, Shooting, Soccer, Synchronized Swimming, Table Tennis, Weightlifting, Wrestling
  • Bravo – Tennis
  • CNBC – Basketball, Volleyball, Archery, Beach Volleyball, Cycling, Rugby, Water Polo, Wrestling
  • Golf Channel – Golf
  • MSNBC – Men’s Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Rugby, Soccer, Volleyball, Water Polo
  • USA Network – Women’s Soccer, Beach Volleyball, Cycling, Men’s Basketball, Rowing, Synchronized Swimming, Volleyball, Water Polo
  • NBC Universo/Telemundo – Mexican National Team Soccer and Various Sports with Spanish Language Coverage
  • Specialized Channels – There will be specialized channels for basketball and soccer

Enjoy the games, and thanks to Awful Announcing for the information.

Obama Courting Cable TV Commentators to Push Through Legislation

According to the US News and World Report, Barack Obama is courting cable TV commentators from the liberal end of the spectrum in order to campaign in public for the passage of tax cuts for the middle class and tax increases for the rich. The President met with MSNBC hosts Rachel Maddow, Lawrence O’Donnell, Ed Schultz and Al Sharpton, as well as Arianna Huffington, editor-in-chief of Huffington Post. The blog outlines the strategy while also pointing out the hypocrisy of the President saying he does not pay much attention to cable news shows:

Oddly, the meeting followed by a few hours an interview Tuesday with Bloomberg TV in which Obama said he doesn’t pay much attention to cable news shows. “I don’t really spend a lot of time on, you know, what folks say on cable news programs, ” the president said.

He has made similar remarks before and has told friends that cable TV tends to sensationalize and trivialize the news. He discussed the cable issue after he was asked about recent criticism of Susan Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Obama suggested that cable shows had hyped the Rice criticism.

But his distaste for cable chatter hasn’t prevented Obama from using cable TV for his own purposes. The meeting with the liberal commentators was part of Obama’s effort to generate support for his budget plan. He wants media figures on the left to stir up grassroots support for his plan and opposition to House Republicans who oppose any increase in tax rates, including higher levies on the wealthy.

Obama and congressional leaders are trying to negotiate an agreement to avoid automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that are scheduled to take effect next year. Some economists say the automatic provisions could trigger another recession.

We at the TV, Internet and Phone Blog have often covered how the different cable channels cater to different ends of the political spectrum. Here is yet another example.

Fox News Wins Cable TV Debate Ratings

According to Maboot, Fox News Channel, the most conservative-leaning of the three major cable news networks, won the cable TV ratings battle for presidential debate coverage. 10.436 million people tuned for the debate between President Barack Obama and Republican hopeful on Fox News, up from 8.2 million four years ago. CNN came in second among cable news channels, with 6.1 million viewers, and MSNBC brought up the rear with 4.7 million viewers.

The winner in total was ABC, which led the broadcast networks and all the cable news channels with 11.25 million viewers. The network’s post-debate coverage drew almost 9 million viewers. Overall, viewership for the debates was up significantly from four years ago, with 67 million people in total watching the first presidential debate, 15 million more than watched the first debate between Obama and McCain four years ago.

There are a number of theories as to why Fox News is winning the cable wars when it comes to election coverage. The presence of a democratic president that many are not satisfied with may have led viewers to a network that tends to be more critical of the president. Republicans who might not have paid as much attention in past years seem more excited about the potential of upending the chance for a second term for Obama.

Also, the younger viewers that made up the core of Obama’s base are tuning out in droves, either thinking that Obama has no chance of losing, or being disappointed in how few of his initiatives he actually followed through upon.

It can be dangerous to conflate television ratings with voting blocs, but it does seem like the Republican base is mobilized for this election, perhaps more than in 2008, and that is reflected in the Fox ratings. Add to that the fact that many agree Romney “won” the first debate and it’s interesting to see what will happen with the next one, both on the dais and in the ratings.

CNN Struggling in Cable TV News Election Coverage

The flagship 24-hour cable TV news channel, CNN, is struggling, with its prime-time audience having plunged more than 40% compared with four years ago, with competitors Fox News and MSNBC having posted double-digit increases in viewership in the same time. According to the Los Angeles Times, change is long overdue in how CNN covers the presidential election and other major events, but there is some debate as to what that change should be.

Many pundits believe to compete with the other cable TV news channels, CNN will have to abandon its mantra that “News is the Star,” coined by creator Ted Turner decades ago when CNN was just a fledgling cable channel trying to get a foothold. Cable TV subscribers are increasingly wanting more opinion-based news coverage, particularly when it comes to political news, with more liberal viewers tuning into the left-leaning MSNBC and more conservative viewers attaching themselves to the coverage provided by the right-wing punditry of Fox News. Many analysts believe that CNN, in order to compete, will have to provide more opinion-based coverage. They are already doing so with Piers Morgan, who has replaced Larry King as the network’s flagship interviewer, and is definitely not shy about voicing his opinion.

In the past few years, the only times CNN has really been atop the ratings was with big, short-term news events, such as the shooting in Aurora or the Sikh Temple shooting. But once that news has been broken, viewers return to the more opinion-based networks.

CNN is at a turning point. The network is responsible for popularizing the 24-hour cable TV news cycle, but that cycle is even quicker now due to Twitter and online websites breaking news much more quickly. News can no longer be the star; so what will CNN do to find their next star?

Cable TV News is No Longer Where News Breaks

For a generation of people, say those younger than 30, though there are many who are older than that for whom this is often true, cable TV news is no longer where news is broken. Social media, particularly Twitter, is now where much of the world’s political, economic, even sports news is broken. This presents a challenge not only for journalists who are scrambling to keep up with the social media world, but for cable TV news networks like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox, who are often reacting to the news rather than breaking it.

The 24-hour cable TV news model largely replaced the afternoon editions of daily newspapers in major cities, with the ability to break news quickly on screen rather than having to wait for a publishing time shouldering aside the older, slower model. Now the same thing is happening to cable TV news with what’s going on with Twitter, online news sites, and other media.

So what should cable TV do? David Frum, a CNN contributor, has three ideas:

  1. Focus on the personalities on the networks. News is no longer the star, as it has already been broken online, so the only reason for people to tune in is if the cable TV news networks give them something they’ll want to watch. This means people need to like and trust the people on screen.
  2. Use the 24 hours of programming to actually deepen the knowledge of what news stories are breaking. The time should not be used to break news, but rather expand on the news that is broken online.
  3. Cable TV news audiences are niche audiences. Appeal to these niche audiences by providing smarter, more in-depth programming.

Will cable TV news go extinct? Probably not. But some changes need to be made to bring it up to date in the 21st Century.

Cable TV News Watching Habits an Indication of Political Leanings

This may not be news to anyone who’s been paying attention, but now there’s the research to back it up: according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll, which 24-hour cable TV news network you regularly tune into is a major indicator of your political leanings on the right-left spectrum and also a pretty good indicator of party leanings.

MSNBC and Fox News are both popular channels on major cable providers like Charter Communications and satellite TV providers like DIRECTV. More than 3 million Americans tune into cable news each day, and cable news is the top regular source of campaign news in the United States, above local TV news, network TV news, internet news sites and local news papers.

The McClatchy-Marist poll focused on issues where left-wing and right-wing, Democrats and Republicans, tend to hold different views, and then the viewership for each of the top cable news channels:

Federal Spending

  • Only 19% of Fox News Channel viewers think that increasing government spending would help the economy, with 79% believing increasing debt would hurt the economy.
  • 55% of MSNBC viewers  say more spending would help the economy, with only 43% saying the increased debt would hurt the economy.


  • Fox viewers are more likely to think the poor should pay more in taxes.
  • MSNBC viewers are more likely to be willing to pay more taxes and support higher taxes on the rich and Wall Street.

National Security

  • Fox viewers are more likely to be concerned about a terrorist attack.
  • MSNBC viewers are less likely to be concerned about a terrorist attack.

Higher percentages of Democrats view MSNBC (55%) and CNN (50%). The largest percentage of party-identified viewers for Fox News is Republican (43%). CNN tends to be in the middle ground between the other two in terms of content, but it has been found that its viewers lean more toward the left in general.

NBCUniversal Providing Record Olympic Coverage on Satellite and Cable TV

NBC Olympics LogoAccording to a press release from the company, NBCUniversal will surpass previous Olympic coverage by more than two thousand hours, providing 5,535 hours of coverage for the Summer Olympics in London across the company’s network and cable TV channels, as well as online. An increase in daytime coverage will put the hours on NBC, the flagship network channel, at 272.5, the most ever for an Olympic broadcast network, with the remainder of the coverage occurring on as well as the entire NBCUniversal lineup of channels, including NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus) and Bravo.

Here are the channels that will be featuring Olympic coverage, along with what they will be covering:

  • NBC – 272.5 hours of coverage, nearly 50 hours more than the coverage the network had in Beijing. Many major events will air on NBC live, as well as on taped delay in primetime.
  • NBC Sports Network (formerly Versus/OLN) – 292.5 hours of total coverage, averaging 14 hours per day, covering United States team sports, including Team USA basketball, US women’s soccer, and field hockey.
  • MSNBC – 155.5 hours of a variety of long-form Olympic programming, including badminton, basketball, soccer and wrestling.
  • CNBC – Olympic boxing, including the debut of women’s boxing, comprising 73 hours of boxing coverage.
  • Bravo – 56 hours of Olympic tennis.
  • Telemundo – 173 hours of Spanish language Olympic coverage.
  • Specialty channels for basketball and soccer covering 770 hours will be available on cable television, satellite television, and telco providers.

In addition to the television coverage, will stream every event live for the first time ever for more than 3,500 total programming hours, including awards ceremonies for all 302 separate medals. These events will only be available to those who have subscribed to a cable or satellite provider that carries the channels airing the events.

Sports fans should check back often for updates as more becomes available about specifics of Olympic TV coverage.