Cable News Leading Increase in TV Viewing, Comscore Says

Cable news networks are leading a surge in TV viewing as more people are staying home and tuning in because of the Coronavirus crisis, according to data from Comscore.

Comscore says that cable news viewing was up 73% in the week of March 16, compared to the same week a year ago. They are also up 39.8% from a month ago and 7.8% from the previous week.

Cable news viewership was up 73% during the week of March 16.

Cable news viewership was up 73% during the week of March 16.

The biggest increases for the seven news networks tracked by Comscore came in daytime and early fringe.

With the stock market plunging, financial news networks, in particular, were drawing viewers. The two highest networks were up 95% from last year, with an 137% increase in daytime. Comscore did not identify the two of the “highest rated financial news networks” it looked at, but they were most likely CNBC and Fox Business.

The Big Four broadcast networks have seen a 19% increase in viewing compared to a year ago, reversing a long-term trend of viewership erosion. In primetime, the broadcast networks are up 9.4% from a year ago and 3.5% from the previous month, but down 0.7% from the prior week.

The broadcast networks’ biggest gains were in early fringe and daytime. Overnight rating were down as the networks’ late night shows were mainly in reruns.

With most schools closed, children’s programming was up 31%, with a 30.6% gain in daytime. 

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.