Politico’s Media Reporter, Dylan Byers, highlights a new Pew Research report which shows that MSNBC is circling the drain. But Byers’ own summary of what is driving MSNBC’s ratings and earnings down is, perhaps, even tougher than the Pew findings themselves.
MSNBC isn’t seeing that growth, and it’s not clear how it will. In a
world where liberals wanted to be outraged by George Bush every night,
or celebrate the rise of Barack Obama, MSNBC had a theory of the case.
But now Obama’s presidency has turned into a slog, and MSNBC isn’t
compelling. Prime time is just hours of what often seems like feigned
outrage. And the daytime strategy — giving shows to kids in their 20s
and 30s, in an apparent bid to reach the youths — is comically bad, and
rendered absurd at every commercial break when the catheter ads come
Pew Research plots Nielsen ratings data and finds that MSNBC lost 24% of its prime-time audience in 2013, the sharpest decline among the three big cable news outlets. Fox viewership was down 6% for the year but was still higher than both the other networks combined.
While MSNBC still holds a narrow lead over 3rd place CNN in terms of prime-time viewers, the situation is different when it comes to revenues. Here CNN has a wide lead, bringing in more than double the money last place MSNBC managed.
As Dylan Byers points out, the problems at MSNBC won’t be solved by adding a few inexperience young hosts. As I’ve argued before based on previous Pew results, the real problem is that MSNBC doesn’t do news.