FBN Ratings Crack 100,000 Viewers

By SteveK 

The New York Times’ Brian Stelter and Jacques Steinberg reports on Fox Business Network’s ratings from Monday’s Wall St. collapse, putting the average at 81,000 from 1-10pmET.

TVNewser has obtained a more complete hourly breakdown of Monday, which shows FBN averaging 103,000 for America’s Nightly Scoreboard at 7pmET and 124,000 for the Dave Ramsey Show at 8pmET. An FBN special at 9pmET averaged 87,000 viewers and the other hours from 1-7pmET fell below the 81,000 average.

Monday represented the best ratings ever for CNBC during its Business Day (7amET-5pmET), averaging 726,000 during that time. The Times reports the CNBC average during the 1-10pmET hours as close to 900,000.

When Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post released figures he obtained in July, the averages came to about 8,000 during Business Day and 20,000 in prime time for FBN. FBN is currently seen in approximately 40 million homes, as opposed to more than 90 million for CNBC.

But how did the Times get the ratings? FBN is still not a full service client, which means the ratings are not released publicly. Nielsen spokesperson Gary Holmes tells TVNewser, “Any client can subscribe to Nielsen’s ratings. Once the ratings are over a certain minimum, any subscribing client can make those numbers available.”

Holmes confirmed that 81,000 would be enough to put FBN over the minimum, raising the question of which network leaked the numbers.

One point not mentioned in the New York Times story, and something that has been absent in several stories about CNBC, is the partnership the newspaper has with the network. The non-disclosure issue has been raised recently during the economic crisis.

In the weeks since the financial crisis has become a top story, CNBC and FBN have sparred through promos, newspaper ads and on the air.