It looks like the surge in cable news ratings has come at the expense of the big three broadcast networks, as the latest ratings report shows that ABC, CBS and NBC have lost more than one million viewers on their morning shows and their evening news broadcasts in the last year.
In February 2016, the morning shows on the big three networks averaged 13.903 million viewers. That dropped to 12.766 million for the same period this year. That’s a loss of 1.137 viewers, or eight percent.
The combined evening newscasts averaged 25.843 million viewers in 2016, which dropped to 24.695 million this year for a loss of 1.148 million viewers, or 4.4 percent.
That is still a substantial number of viewers when compared to cable, but the momentum is clearly with Fox News, CNN and MSNBC, which can and have devoted large chunks of their news coverage to Donald Trump. That is something the broadcast networks can’t replicate due to programming and time constraints.
As long as Trump remains a hot news topic, further erosion of the broadcast news audience is a strong possibility.