Monday was a good day for CNBC. But just how good it was, the network won’t say. The stock market scare that sent the Dow plummeting over 1,000 points delivered, among other things, a huge opportunity for financial networks like CNBC and Fox Business, which pitch themselves as holy grails for minute-to-minute market analysis.
CNBC made out with 415,000 total viewers and 117,000 in the coveted 25-54 demographic, the highest of any business day so far this year for the 25-year-old cable network, according to Nielsen. Meanwhile, Fox Business -- a younger channel founded in 2007 with less distribution than CNBC -- averaged 179,000 viewers and 36,000 in the demo. It was the network’s best business day ever.
But unlike Fox, CNBC can’t take a victory lap.
No More Nielsen
In January, the channel made a big point of pulling out of the Nielsen ratings system, complaining that Nielsen data underrepresents its audience.
Despite the fact that Monday’s market drama was the biggest moment for the channel this year, CNBC has apparently decided to toe the line and downplay the significance of Nielsen’s numbers, even when they look good.
“Nielsen does not measure affluent homes or out-of-home viewing that takes place in the offices of chief executives, on trading floors, in five-star hotels, country clubs, fitness centers and fine restaurants, so Nielsen does not measure CNBC,” a spokesperson told International Business Times when asked for its Nielsen numbers on Monday. It did not share the ratings with IBTimes.
It’s perhaps an awkward position for the network, which is turning down a moment in the sun to stick to its principles on why it abandoned Nielsen. (Bloomberg TV, founded in 1994, also abstains from Nielsen.)
At the start of the fourth quarter, the market research firm Cogent Reports will take over Nielsen’s duties for CNBC.
Nielsen admitted it struggled to count audiences of CNBC and Bloomberg earlier this year.
“To the extent that CNBC’s daytime audiences draw heavily from people watching outside the home, our ratings data would not be reflective of that viewing,” the Wall Street Journal reported Nielsen Executive Vice President Sara Erichson as saying.
A Field Day For Fox
Fox Business, sticking with Nielsen, told the Journal in January that “only using the numbers you like is a little tough to sell.”
The channel has some numbers to boast about from Monday, with Stuart Varney’s “Varney & Co.” setting a network record for its 9 a.m.-to-noon block with 23,000 total viewers and 54,000 in the demo. Viewers stuck around throughout the day, with Neil Cavuto’s “Coast to Coast” enjoying a record high in the 12 p.m. hour with 188,000 in total and 36,000 in the demo.
Monday’s chaos also gave Fox Business’ website its highest day for page views, up 200 percent from its August 2015 average.