MSNBC is rolling up its bottom-of-the-screen news ticker, a nod to interest in less on-screen clutter as the cable-news network experiences new bursts of viewership.
When the NBCUniversal-owned cable-news outlet launched its morning programming Monday with “Morning Joe First Look” at 5 a.m., one longtime graphics element was missing: the scrolling news ticker. “We’re removing the scrolling ticker at the bottom of the screen for a cleaner view that puts our reporting more front and center,” the network said in a statement. “As a network, we focus on up-to-the-minute breaking news showcasing our team’s smart reporting and in-depth analysis, and we want viewers to get the best possible experience.”
Running a news scroll in the lower third of the screen has been de rigueur for the cable-news networks since 2001. In the aftermath of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center in September of that year, CNN began running a scrolling “ticker” or “zipper” of facts and news headlines at the bottom of the screen. Others followed. In 2010, CNN even experimented with running a small window of the set of John King’s “John King USA” during commercial breaks in a bid to keep viewers from tuning away. Several of the cable-news outlets have more recently begun posting “countdown clocks” in a lower corner of the screen to get viewers excited about seeing newsworthy events like a notable speech or a big exclusive.
But the tickers have created a busier interface that some viewers find frenetic and complex. Fox News Channel hasn’t used a ticker in its daytime news programming for several years.
The tickers still seem relatively ubiquitous, and TV executives may find other uses for them. In 2015, CNN’s head of ad sales suggested the notion of running commercial copy in a flipper, so long as the information was relevant to the broadcast.