In the past 24 hours, some readers have been surprised to learn that as Jeff Reeves of InvestorPlace states, total Q2 CNBC viewership as calculated by Nielsen, has tumbled to to the lowest it has been since Q3 2005. This merely confirms that the trendline in our periodic observations of CNBC traffic was more than merely seasonal or VIX-related: it has been one long secular decline, peaking in the quarter of Lehman's demise and down hill ever since.
Reeves focuses on some specifics:
- Squawk Box (6-9 a.m.) is supposed to prime traders before the bell. The show posted its lowest rated its time block since Q4 2006.
- The Closing Bell (3-5 p.m.) is supposed to wrap up the day’s action. The slot posted its fifth-lowest rating in total viewers and second-lowest ratings in the key 25-54 demographic since 1997.
- Fast Money (5-6 p.m.) is focused almost specifically on swing trading stocks. That time slot showed the lowest rating for the 25-54 demo since 1997 — and lowest in total viewers since Fast Money launched in 2006.
Yet none of the above compares to the Nielsen-sourced data Zero Hedge compiled showing CNBC viewerships since the beginning of 2004.
The chart speaks thousands of words about the shrinking viewer engagement with either CNBC the financial news station, or CNBC the financial news station.
What the clearly chart shows is that despite occasional risk flaring episodes, and a general preponderance of either 'good news' or 'bad news' regimes, the prevailing trendline is one of anti-Gartman proportions: from top left to bottom right.
Reeves attempts to give some explanations of his own explaining this troubling for Comcast trend:
It must be noted that it’s not their fault the market is miserable, and bad ratings don’t necessarily reflect bad shows. After all, we don’t blame builders like Pulte or Lennar for causing the housing crisis with poorly made homes.
It’s also worth noting that many cable networks are experiencing a viewership drain as many younger folks take their eyeballs to the Internet — and CNBC is hardly ignoring the move to online content. Its website gets some 8 million unique visitors every month, and a shrewd partnership with Yahoo! is teaming up the megasite Yahoo Finance with CNBC to tap into an even more massive chunk of the financial media audience.
But for whatever reason, investors are tuning out CNBC on their TV sets. That’s further proof that the market is jaded, that volume will remain low in the summer and that most investors are scared or nervous about what to do next.
Zero Hedge being Zero Hedge will add one more: perhaps CNBC's viewers have gotten tired of getting just one side of the newsflow: the always rosy, and over the past 5 years, always wrong one.
Which also explains the growth of alternative financial media venues: those unconstrained in the type of data they can report on and analyze. More importantly: those unconstrained by what producers scream in their earpiece. In retrospect, they have much to be grateful to CNBC for- if for whatever reason the financial channel was not hemorrhaging eyeballs, there would be no new captive audience to, well, capture.
Finally, whatever the reason for the endless bleed in CNBC viewership one thing we can be sure of: the advertisers - that lifeblood of every media outlet - are certainly not happy.