Post Type:news Shutdown: Bad for U.S., Good for Cable | Viamedia

The federal government shutdown frustrated employees, angered citizens and infuriated lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

It also sent ratings for the cable news networks soaring.

Viewers tuned in to CNN, Fox News Channel and CNN in big numbers during the 16-day shutdown to find out the latest news.

MSNBC saw the biggest gains, up 35 percent in October compared to its previous year-to-date average, to 978,000 total viewers in primetime, according to Nielsen.

Fox News Channel drew the biggest audience overall by far, an average 2.2 million, up 9 percent. And CNN was up 11 percent in primetime, to 721,000.

The big improvement for MSNBC and the huge tune-in for Fox News likely reflect the partisan nature of the crisis.

Studies have shown that Democrats are more likely to watch left-leaning MSNBC, while Republicans are more likely to watch the right-leaning Fox News Channel.

With debate over the shutdown breaking heavily along party lines, it’s little wonder that MSNBC and FNC saw the biggest benefit.

The shutdown ended last Wednesday, Oct. 16, and the networks provided special coverage of the vote at 8 p.m. Fox led with 2.52 million viewers, and CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” had 1.587 million, finishing as the network’s No. 1 show of the week.

In fact, 11 of CNN’s top 12 shows for the week aired on Wednesday, when the deal was being hammered out.

MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes” drew 1.2 million viewers as the deal was passed by Congress and the president, while “The Rachel Maddow Show” in the following hour finished as the network’s top show of the week, with 1.44 million.

The big numbers are a reminder that while people do rely heavily on online news these days, they still turn to cable news for coverage of big events as they are happening.

That’s not likely to change anytime soon, if ever.

Source: Medialife Magazine, 10/23/13