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The Cable Channels Competition with the Networks

CBS' decline is measured from Cronkite's retirement, and NBC with its Huntley-Brinkley team became the news leader in evening news time. For some years following the breakup of this team, the three networks paraded a number of personalities to anchor their evening news programs- Dan Rather, Peter Jennings and Tom Brokaw now are long-time news anchors. But, viewership is down. According to the latest (Feb 1, 2002) Nielsen ratings, NBC has a 13 share, ABC, a 10 share, CBS an 11 percent share of total viewers. For NBC, as an example that share translates into a raging of 8.3. Each ratings point represents 1,022,000 TV households (TVZapt2it, 2002, 1).

Even as more people (59%) get their news primarily from television, versus 23% from newspapers, "but the audience for network news isadropping. Fifteen years ago the CBS Evening News, NBC Nightly News and ABC's World News Tonight together were watched in 41.2% of all American TV homes. Last season that combined audience sank to an all-time low of 26.1%" (Chidaya, 1996, 59). Why the decline? In general terms, it is the growth of cable television and its two main all-news channels, which can make news highlights as well as news in depth available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even for Americans traveling overseas. Cable news, therefore, is not limited to one specific time, but is available whenever viewers want to check on latest events.

Formed in 1980, with Headline news, its thirty-minute update version begun in 1981, "CNNa.tends to accomplish more on less money than its commercial broadcast counterparts. CNN's annual budget is $140 millionaabout half the size of the news budgets of ABC, CBS and NBC" (USIA, 1990, 2). While cable television viewers are far smaller than the general network numbers, they are growing over the past few years. And, the major growth comes from the age group most desired by advertisers- the 24-54 year-olds.

Why the viewer switch, other tha...

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The Cable Channels Competition with the Networks. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 04:14, August 23, 2017, from
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