For those interested in lots of historical data on the media, the Pew Project For Excellence in Journalism's State Of The News Media 2011 report is gold mine.
The data is vast, but here are some of the tidbits from the TV news portions:
- Combined median cable news viewership in prime time was down 16% to 3.2 million. Mean viewership was down 13% to 3.3 million. It was the single biggest year-to-year decline in the history of this data series, which was started in 1997.
- CNN absorbed the heaviest losses during 2010 by far, especially in prime time. Median viewership dropped 37% to 564,000 viewers. HLN, CNN’s sibling channel, dipped 17% to 434,000. Fox viewership fell 11%, to 1.9 million. MSNBC, which fared least badly, had a viewership decline of 5%, to 747,000.
- In 2010, the audience for network news programs continued its quarter-century decline. In the evening, an average of 21.6 million people watched one of the three commercial broadcast evening news programs each night on ABC, CBS or NBC. That represents a drop of 752,000 viewers, or 3.4%, from the average the year before