Ratings at CNN are down. Way down, as prominent news hosts Larry King and Anderson Cooper saw their viewership figures nearly halved from the same time last year, according the New York Times.
First quarter television ratings found that CNN was trumped by its right-wing rivals at Fox News, which is actually boasting its best quarter ever (building on its best year ever in 2009), as viewers and advertising dollars flow towards political pundits Glenn Beck, which doubled it’s viewers from last year, and Bill O’Reilly, who remains Fox News’ biggest draw with 3.65m tuning in during prime time.
CNN finished 2009 behind MSNBC in prime-time ratings as well, the first time CNN has ever trailed a competitor other than the Fox News over a full calendar year.
But do the numbers tell the whole story? CNN remains the out and out leader online as the 18th most trafficked website in the US, compared to Fox News at 38. CNN has nearly 3m followers on Twitter, while Fox News has just 150,000.
MSNBC, whose website ranks far behind both CNN and Fox News at number 722 in the US has more than 1.6m followers on it’s @breakingnews Twitter feed.
The online numbers show an opportunity for both CNN and MSNBC to expand their audiences through non-traditional means, but the question remains, as always, whether advertisers will follow or not.