November 27, 2013
Lately, the CNBC management team and show producers, and certainly the Comcast C-suite, have been engaged in a flurry of activity: from the departure of the iconic money honey Maria Bartiromo, to the retention of virtually every nubile (and not so nubile) Bloomberg TV anchor, it seems the station that was once known for breaking and analyzing financial news is more focused on the perfect mix of TV anchors. Supposedly in lieu of relevant, actionable content, this will offset the boost viewership. Or so the thinking goes. Sadly this is the same sort of thinking that has made slideshows, kittens, and all-caps headlines an ubiqutous click bait fixture of web media. Unfortunately for CNBC (and perhaps explaining Bartiromo’s decision to jump ship after decades of loyalty) it is not working. According to the latest Nielsen Research data, in November, CNBC’s core 25-54 demographic saw its fourth consecutive month of declines, and dropped to just 31,000 – a declined of over 40% from a year earlier, and the lowest since February 1993: a fresh 13 year low.
Some other highlights. CNBC has seen a constant decline in its viewership starting with 2008 when it attracted a total of 274,000 viewers, and 88,000 in its demo, for its full day audience. Subsequently viewership dropped as follows:
- 2009: P2: 226,000; 25-54: 75,000
- 2010: P2: 208,000; 25-54: 65,000
- 2011: P2: 199,000; 25-54: 60,000
- 2012: P2: 171,000; 25-54: 52,000
And the full 2013 breakdown: P2: 147,000; 25-54: 42,000.
In short – total viewership has plunged by 46% in the total audiences, and by 52% in the demographic over the past five years. Which incidentally follows the volume of the “stock market” nearly tick for tick.
What this means is that Bartiromo may have been the latest high profile departure from the station, but she certainly won’t be the last one – the writing on the wall is very clear.
The “good” news is that one can expect progressively more eye candy to grace the mute ticker, as instead of focusing on the only thing that matters to viewers – content – the station follows virtually all other dying legacy (and social) media in pursuing the lowest common denominator, which usually comes in high heels and a mini skirt.
Finally, if interest in CNBC is indeed comparable to overall retail (and institutional) participation in the market as many believe, then not only is the retail investor not coming back, ever, contrary to what the doctored propaganda from assorted funds would like to represent (because strength is always in herds, pardon, numbers) but Bernanke better hope that the “BT(F)D mentality” so eloquently popularized by the abovementioned now ex-CNBC anchor, never departs or else there will be nobody to pick up the pieces on the way down when the selling begins.