TV Ratings: Rollercoaster Stock Market Delivers Boost for CNBC


News Corp.'s Fox Business and Bloomberg Television also see audience benefits, even though CNBC highlights that Nielsen ratings don't measure its out-of-home viewership.

NEW YORK - Financial news networks, led by NBCUniversal's CNBC, have seen ratings gains amid the recent stock market turmoil and U.S. debt downgrade, the New York Times reported.

As is typically the case when stock markets crash or volatility threatens 401k plans, the largest business news channel has benefited from consumers' interest in the markets, but so have News Corp.'s Fox Business Network and Bloomberg Television.

CNBC seems to have benefitted the most this month, the paper said. Through the first two weeks of August, CNBC had 378,000 at-home viewers on average during market hours, up from 224,000 in July, the Times said. The network has long argued that Nielsen data doesn't capture significant out-of-home viewing though. Still, the paper said that CNBC’s at-home audience has not been this large since May 2010.
Fox Business had an average of 107,000 viewers, up from 76,000 in July, according to the Times. News Corp. executives said on their quarterly earnings call last week that Fox Business broke even for the first time in the conglomerate's fiscal year that ended June 30.

Kevin Magee, who is in charge of the Fox Business Network, which launched late in 2007, said that periods of major financial news tend to boost “the new guy.” Once new viewers find the network, “they have a tendency to stay with us after that,” he told the Times.

Bloomberg Television is part of privately held Bloomberg and is not publicly rated. But the Times said it has also seen a ratings increase.

The Times said that wild market  swings are not necessarily profit generators for financial networks as advertisers typically buy ad spots well in advance.