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"CNN Can't Blame All Its Summer Declines on Michael Jackson"

Written By mista sense on Monday, August 16, 2010 | 4:21 PM

"CNN Can't Blame All Its Summer Declines on Michael Jackson" -- that's the headline atop Robert Seidman's smart--as always!--piece in TV by the Numbers,  a Cable Game must read.   As Seidman explains:

In an broad-reaching article about summer cable ratings by our friend Brian Stelter at the New York Times  that I wrote about yesterday, Jack Wakshlag the research chief for Turner Broadcasting told the New York Times that the death of Michael Jackson contributed to higher news ratings last summer.  The article mentioned the single digit percentage declines year over year at FOX, MSNBC, and HLN  while CNN was off 43%.

As usual, Mr. Wakshlag is correct.  There’s no doubt the death of Michael Jackson contributed to higher news ratings last summer, particularly for CNN.  But the way the article is written, it makes it seem that all of CNN’s summer declines can be attributed to coverage of Michael Jackson’s death last summer.  That’s definitely not the case.


What happens if you take the biggest period of Michael Jackson coverage from his death on June 25th through his funeral on July 7 out of the mix?  CNN is still down significantly more than the other networks and still down double digits if you exclude June 25, 2009 through July 7, 2009 (Jackson’s death through Jackson’s funeral).   CNN is just on the same continued course of ratings declines it has been on all year.

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