When Breaking News Doesn’t Rate

By Chris Ariens 

Tuesday afternoon and into the evening the cable news networks — CNN in particular — kept cameras trained on Taksim Square in Istanbul where protestors and police clashed into the night. CNN had its own correspondents in the square, and above it, reporting the breaking developments, often while donning gas masks.

Despite all that, the news from Turkey did not seem to resonate with American audiences.

CNN had its 4th lowest primetime and total day A25-54 demo numbers since 2006. The 9pm hour of Piers Morgan Live had its worst outing in the demo in almost a year — since August 2012. And that hour included a compelling interview with George Zimmerman’s brother Robert.

During the height of the news from Istanbul from 2-4pmET, CNN came in fourth in the demo behind FNC, MSNBC and HLN. CNN was second among total viewers in those hours behind only Fox.

In the demo, CNN was down -60% for the day vs. its quarter-to-date average; MSNBC was down -28% and Fox News was flat. Among Total Viewers, CNN was down -45%, MSNBC was down -3% and FNC was up +4% vs. its quarter-to-date average.