CNN Ratings Issues Worsen

The cable news network CNN, known for its slogan “Facts First”, suffered another blow this week as it came in 10th in the weekly rating report.

Despite the attention surrounding the Iowa caucus, CNN seemed to have lost both viewers and momentum as it lagged behind channels that offered Western reruns. The weekly report, covering the seven-day period from January 15th to January 21st, showed that CNN had an average of only 538,000 nightly viewers in the 8 pm to 11 pm time slot. This was even less than some lesser-known channels, such as the Hallmark channel, The History Channel, and INSP, a South Carolina-based channel mainly featuring westerns.

The media conglomerate News Corp., which is also the parent company of Fox Corp., owns the New York Post. The publication, owned by Rupert Murdoch, wasted no time in poking fun at CNN’s dismal ratings.

In a headline, the article read “CNN loses to cowboy show reruns”. INSP, a channel founded in the late 1970s by Christian televangelist Jim Bakker, had 577,000 viewers in the same time frame as CNN. This highlights CNN’s struggle to entertain its viewers with relevant and engaging content.

The ratings champion of the week was Fox News, with an impressive audience of 2.091 million in prime time. ESPN came in at second place, aided by the airing of the playoff game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

MSNBC ranked third with a respectable 1 million viewers in prime time. However, CNN’s viewership showed a steep decline as it not only lost to its competitors but also to channels featuring reruns of old westerns.

It is perhaps to combat this decline in viewership that CNN’s new boss, Mark Thompson, has been heavily focused on strengthening the network’s online presence. In a memo sent out to employees last week, Thompson warned of the dire consequences that linear television faces. He pointed out that CNN has been slow to respond to the changing media landscape and needs to recapture some of its original innovative spirit.

Thompson, in his memo, acknowledged that CNN’s linear services and even its website have become outdated in their approach, often lacking the “swagger and innovation” that the network was known for in its early days. This brings to light the need for CNN to reinvent itself and stay relevant in a fast-paced and ever-changing media industry.

The recent history of CNN, with its consistent decline in viewership, paints a grim picture for the once-popular network. With stiff competition from Fox and MSNBC, and now even channels showcasing cowboy reruns, CNN has a tough road ahead to regain its power and influence in the world of cable news.

As the network strives to evolve and modernize its approach, it remains to be seen how much of an impact its efforts will have on its ratings and reputation. In the meantime, the “Facts First” slogan seems to have taken a backseat as CNN works towards staying afloat in the competitive world of cable news.

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