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Female Viewers Flock to Piers Morgan, Anderson Cooper

Ratings analysis: CNN pair draw greater concentration of women than many primetime rivals

Piers Morgan’s CNN program isn’t the most watched among the nation’s three big cable-news outlets, but it does have something many of the primetime shows in this niche don’t: a greater concentration of female viewers.

Piers Morgan Live” has an audience that is roughly 56.4% female – a greater percentage of women than all of the regularly running primetime programs on Fox News Channel, MSNBC and CNN, according to an analysis of Nielsen ratings between the start of 2013 and Nov. 11 performed by Carat, the large media-buying firm that counts General Motors among its clients. For the year through Nov. 10, “Piers Morgan Live” has increased its overall audience by 7%, according to Nielsen data as well as audience in the demographic preferred by news advertisers, people between 25 and 54.

To be sure, the analysis does not indicate that the most women watch “Morgan.” Indeed, in its 9 p.m. time slot alone, “Piers Morgan Live” is handily trumped by both “The Kelly File” on Fox News and “The Rachel Maddow Show” on MSNBC. Between Sept. 30 and Oct. 27, “Piers Morgan” collected an average female viewership of 330,000, according to data from Nielsen, while “Kelly File,” which debuted Oct. 7, won an average of nearly 1.15 million and “Rachel Maddow” secured an average of 527,000.

What’s more, the “Piers Morgan” audience for the weeks of Oct. 7 through Nov. 14 ranks 26th in total viewers and 29th in the audience preferred by advertisers, people between 25 and 54, according to Nielsen.

So “Morgan” has fewer female viewers than many other programs, but a greater concentration of them. And this point would mean little to an advertiser working under current industry rules. After all, sponsors are most interested in the sheer number of viewers in a particular demo, which in the case of news programming is adults 25-54. Yet as more marketers find more specific data about their viewers with the emergence of new technology – digital streaming or addressable advertising – they may want to know more about the demographic makeup of a specific program. How many are viewing may be less important than how many from a particular group of consumers.

Among primetime selections on Fox News, MSNBC and CNN, “Anderson Cooper 360” has the second-greatest concentration of female viewers, according to the Carat analysis: Approximately 54.7% of its audience consists of women. But the gaps between the two shows and others are quite narrow. Fox News’ “Kelly File” and “Hannity,” whose viewers are 51.7% female and 51.4% female, respectively, follow. “On The Record with Greta Van Susteren,” which airs at 7 p.m. – often an hour considered primetime for the news networks – has drawn an audience that is 53% female in recent weeks, according to Nielsen.

The primetime show on the three networks with the most male viewers appears to be MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show,” where the audience is estimated to be 47% female and 53% male.

There are programs on other cable-news networks that draw a greater concentration of female viewers than all of these shows. According to Carat, HLN’s “Showbiz Tonight” lures a viewership that is 76.9% female, while “Dr. Drew On Call” attracts an audience that is 74.1% female.

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