Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Someone on a mailing list I'm part of posted from viewership stats for the cable new channels:

During January, Fox averaged 656,000 viewers while CNN had 596,000 viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research. MSNBC had 296,000 viewers. In Nielsen's cable measurements, a month ends on its last Sunday. In prime-time, Fox averaged 1.1 million viewers, CNN was at 921,000 and MSNBC had 358,000. Fox beat CNN during two months last year in prime-time, but by smaller margins. And it has never won in Nielsen's 24-hour average.

And all I could think of was how miniscule a portion of the pie these channels are fighting over. Okay, it's neither an entirely fair or direct statistic comparison, but look at the "audience" stats for online media. We're talking tens of millions, and the news networks are fighting in the arena of hundreds of thousands. Who cares?

In the list convo it was asserted how stupid all these people were for watching FOX over CNN. But demographic and ratings stats are all so specialized and insular that they have almost no relation whatsoever to any greater -- and therefore actually meaningful -- context. Maybe half of those watching morons on FOX (or CNN) are screaming "You stupid fucking IDIOTS!" at their televisions, in which case they aren't stupid viewers at all. Who knows. Which is my point.

These cable news numbers of miniscule by comparison to the Internet. And they don't mean anything to anyone except those concerned with the fight over an ever-shrinking audience, leaving the vast majority of viewers/users/audience/consumers/citizens to on their own merry ways elsewhere.

It's all so damnable irrelevant, but it gets reported as important.

So who put the RANT in my coffee this morning?

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