Last night, CNN's Brian Stelter contacted us about "Newsmax's ratings declines for my CNN newsletter."
Stelter contacted Newsmax at 9 p.m. on Wednesday night and said he would give us just one hour to respond, meaning a 10 p.m. deadline.
Without Newsmax's response, CNN's Stelter email newsletter, headlined "Newsmax's rise and fall," noted that "Newsmax TV gained a lot of attention last fall when disaffected Fox News fans flocked to the channel en masse. ... Newsmax's Nielsen ratings are way off the post-election highs that I wrote about three and four months ago."
Stelter chalked up his "Newsmax is falling" story to his theory that "Newsmax is no longer getting a pro-Trump Big Lie ratings boost. Biden is a comparatively tame story."
As it turns out, Biden is also a very tame story for CNN as well, which has seen its own ratings collapse in recent weeks.
Early Wednesday morning Newsmax sent Stelter the following response: "Only CNN would do a story on Newsmax's drop in ratings when its own Nielsen total day impressions fell by 45% last week compared to the week after the election, and Brian Stelter's own 'Reliable Sources' show fell by 44% over the same period with, more recently, his show having lost nearly 1 million viewers since January of this year."
CNN's Stelter was contacted to comment on his network's ratings decline, but did not offer comment.
So, what's the real story for the ratings spin from CNN?
CNN and Stelter have been advocates of "deplatforming" the Newsmax channel, in a clear censorship effort to reduce competition, especially as their own ratings have fallen off a cliff.
Here's what the current Nielsen ratings really do show:
- Newsmax remains the #4 cable news channel in the United States.
- Newsmax remains a top 25 cable network for Total Day.
- Newsmax growth has accelerated over the past three quarters, up 24% in P2+ impression and up 23% in A35-64 viewers, from fourth quarter 2020 to first quarter 2021.
- Newsmax has seen double-digit P2+ ratings growth from fourth quarter 2020 to first quarter 2021, led by "Spicer & Co." (+39%), "Greg Kelly Reports" and "American Agenda" (+35%), "Rob Schmitt Tonight" (+31%), and "Stinchfield" (+24%).
Over the past few months, Newsmax has had a sudden rise, catapulting the independent network as a top cable news player.
This fact has panicked not only CNN but Fox News, which has made dramatic changes in its lineup to counter Newsmax.
Meanwhile, Newsmax continues to take a huge portion of Fox's audience in the linear cable world as it crushes Fox in the OTT space, streaming as it does to more than 40 million U.S. homes not connected to cable TV.
And, since Election Day, more than 5 million people have downloaded the free Newsmax App on their smartphone.
The bottom line: Newsmax is here to stay. That's good news for Americans who desperately want fresh, independent voices, but bad news for establishment giants like Fox News and CNN.
For background, here's CNN's Nielsen ratings collapse data:
CNN — P2+ Impressions
Week of 11/9 M-F Total Day — 1.654 Million
Week of 3/1 M-F Total Day — 908,000
45% drop in audience
Week of 11/9 M-F Daytime — 1.855 Million
Week of 3/1 M-F Daytime — 1.059 Million
43% drop in audience
Average viewers Jan. '21 — 2.1 Million
Average viewers Feb. '21 — 1.1 Million
48% drop in audience
Brian Stelter's "Reliable Sources" — P2+ Impressions
11/8/2020 show delivered 2.088 Million
3/7/2021 show delivered 1.164 Million
44% drop in audience
First 3 weeks of January — 2.1 Million
Last 2 weeks — 1 million
52% drop in audience
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