Which Cable News Channel Is a ‘Must Have?’ (Hint: It Isn’t Fox News)

By Alex Weprin 

Needham & Company analyst Laura Martin conducted a survey of television viewers in the U.S. and asked them which channels they “must have available online for you to turn off your TV subscription.”

Not surprisingly, the four major broadcast networks and ESPN topped the list, but what might surprise some people is the only cable news channel to crack the top 20: CNN.

Indeed, CNN placed 12th with 8% of the vote, tied with networks like MTV, PBS and The CW. No other news network made the list.

Why would that be?

Two important things to keep in mind: first, the Needham list is not representative of TV ratings as a whole. Networks like Comedy Central and Food Network cracked the top 10 on the list, but are not top 10 networks according to Nielsen ratings.

Second, most TV viewers do not watch cable news on a daily basis. For those irregular viewers, CNN may be the one they want to keep on their channel lineup just in case… even if they only tune in once every four years for a Presidential election.