In a piece few CNNers will like, Michael O’Connell of The Hollywood Reporter writes that while CNN has made moves on Fox News, it may be too soon to take a victory lap…despite the NYT ad, boasting of CNN/HLN’s win over MSNBC.
CNN came within 50,000 viewers of FNC’s showing with adults 25-to-54, thanks to improvements on both sides of its programming plan: strong showings during breaking-news coverage of the Charlie Hebdo attack and the State of the Union address and all-time highs for original series Morgan Spurlock Inside Man. Granted, CNN still is dwarfed by FNC’s massive viewership, but 63 percent year-to-year growth in daily audience is something few would have predicted last January. And while the network is eager to take that victory lap — see CNN’s full-page ad Jan. 29 in The New York Times, chiding MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough for his ratings slide — others call it premature.
“The major story in the cable news wars in the short term is the collapse of MSNBC rather than the advance of CNN,” says media analyst Andrew Tyndall. “In the long term, I do not believe that the two contradictory strands of the Zucker experiment are sustainable. January’s data offer no clues as to which direction will win out.”