CNBC Ratings Continue Downward Spiral; Corporate Parent Feels "Divot"

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CNBC’s ratings continue to drop, putting pressure on the corporate parent, as all NBC news properties are in “dire straits,” according to a source who provided ValueWalk with data and information about the matter.

The ratings don’t paint a pretty picture.

CNBC’s YTD ratings down 10%

CNBC’s year to date ratings through November 18 are down 15 percent overall and 10 percent “in the demo,” the prime demographic category advertisers most want to reach, ages 25 to 54.


The leading business broadcast network is averaging their lowest rated year in the demo dating back to 1992 and is experiencing the lowest total number of viewers since 1994, the Nielson ratings showed. During the ‘Business Day’, CNBC garnered an average of 174,000 daily viewers year to date, down from 204,000 in 2013. In the coveted 24 to 54 age group, CNBC has 38,000 people on average watching in 2014, down from 42,000 in 2013. If CNBC remains on this ratings trajectory through the end of the year it will be their sixth straight year of posting ratings decline, noted the source.

“Not the best picture for the network that bills itself as being ‘First in Business Worldwide’ – and a massive money loser for the parent company which can’t be going over well,” the source said. Once NBC’s “bread and butter money driver, CNBC is now taking a big divot (from) the parent company’s bottom line.” Has the network’s enhanced focus on Shark Tank reruns  and more entertainment programming  alienated the core business audience?

CNBC’s job layoffs

In related news, CNBC reportedly  laid off eight people last week. “It was like watching people get executed,” one source close to the situation told Business Insider. “They pushed out a lot of loyal, very qualified people.”

For its part, CNBC has said that the real viewership is not being properly calculated by Neilsen, who doesn’t account for the television sets turned on in trading rooms and offices around the globe. The problem is not just with CNBC, as separate sources have indicated other business cable broadcasts such as Bloomberg have noticed a decline in television viewership despite an increase in terminal sales. Bloomberg does not subscribe to Nielsen and their exact ratings are unknown.

CNBC is facing an onslaught from several directions. With more choices for investors and traders to get news than ever before, investors are looking for an insider insight. Speaking on the Benzinga Pre-Market show, former Reuters journalist Felix Salmon said investors are increasingly looking for business news from professionals themselves rather than journalists.

“Journalists don’t know anything. All we know is the stuff which we get from talking to professionals,” he said. After passage of the JOBS Act, investing and trading professionals – along with their typically skittish compliance officers – are becoming increasingly comfortable publishing news, opinion and information through web sites and social media.

Salmon says it’s the insider talk, not the Wall Street gloss, people really want. “What I’m looking forward to is a lot of the conversations that used to be hidden to the public — conversations between journalists and professionals, conversations between professionals and professionals — will now become surfaced, and everyone will be able to see what people are talking about,” he said.

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