Broadcast News Attracts More Viewers, But Cable Wins Their Time: Study

That might explain why cable news channels “have an outsized ability to influence the national debate and news agenda,” the Pew Research Center says based on its new study How Americans Get TV News At Home. Its examination of Nielsen data from February shows that 71% of adults watched a local TV newscast, and 65% watched a network newscast — making them far more popular than cable news channels which attracted 38%. But the people who turned to CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC spent an average of 25 minutes a day with them. That’s “more than twice as much time as local and network TV viewers spend getting news on those platforms.” The differences are much more stark when you look at the one-third of viewers who devote the most time to TV news: They spend about 72.4 minutes a day marinating with cable, 31.6 with network, and 21.8 with local. But the study shows that many cable news viewers are more open-minded than some of the pundits they watch: Some 39% of CNN viewers also watched Fox News while 38% also tuned to MSNBC. Among Fox News viewers, 44% also watched CNN and 28% included MSNBC. And among MSNBC viewers, 54% also watched CNN and 34% checked out Fox News.

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