Cable news spending keeps pumping post-election
The usual declines aren't happening. All three cable news networks see gains.
February 27, 2017
Viewership and ad spending for cable news have never been this strong months after a presidential election.
Then again, there’s never been a president quite like Donald Trump, so perhaps that’s to be expected.
Two months after Trump’s victory, cable news remains red hot, seeing big gains in ad spending as viewers continue to tune in to see what the next day will bring for the tumultuous Trump administration.
The Trump bump continued on Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN last month, according to new data from Standard Media Index, which tracks 70 percent of national agency spending and models the rest based on trends.
Cable news ad spending on the Big Three was up 31.2 percent in January compared to the previous year.
CNN, which does not feature the same partisan primetime chat shows as the other two, rose 19.9 percent.
Trump made news throughout January, from his inauguration to the immigration ban to even his reactions to “Saturday Night Live” throughout the month.
And big events related to Trump, such as the women’s marches the day after his inauguration, also drew people in.
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Of course, much of that viewership is quite partisan. Trump opponents are watching liberal-leaning MSNBC to get marching orders from Rachel Maddow and the like.
Meanwhile, Trump supporters are tuning in to Fox News in even bigger numbers, encouraged by Trump himself, who’s been labeling many other news organizations “fake news” but continuing to praise FNC.
The continued rancor is unusual for a post-election period, and explains the lack of post-election ratings dropoff usually seen.
In response to the surprising strength of ad demand, the networks have jacked up their prices. SMI notes the average cost of an ad on FNC is up 48 percent. MSNBC has hiked prices 50.1 percent, while at CNN they’re up 50.1 percent.
The cable news gains helped overall cable TV spending increase by 8.2 percent last month, according to SMI.
Total TV spending was healthy, bumping up 5.7 percent, though nearly all the gains on broadcast came from sports.
Other media rise in January
Out of home had a great month, with spending up 9.7 percent, driven by a 29 percent gain from billboards.
Digital media recorded a second straight month of single-digit-percentage gains, up 6.3 percent, compared to double-digit percentages at this time last year.
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