Tuesday, September 9, 2014

CNBC viewership plunges to 2nd lowest level ever; CNBC Africa on DStv in South Africa similarly barely watched by subscribers.

The TV business news channel almost nobody's watching? CNBC.

The viewership of the American business news TV channel has plunged to its second lowest viewership month ever this August in the United States, and in South Africa the viewership of CNBC Africa (DStv 410) is also at dismal levels.

In America in August CNBC scraped the bottom of the barrel with only 28 000 viewers in the demographic of 24 to 54 - just 1 000 viewers more than the lowest viewership ever of 27 000 back in November 1992.

CNBC's viewership in the United States keeps going down and if the trend holds September should be the month during which CNBC reaches the lowest viewership of the business news channel ever - ironically despite there being more TV viewers available who could possibly be watching than ever before.

Of course CNBC Africa in South Africa of the ABN group (viewership figures for other African countries are not available) is as "barely there" as CNBC in the United States.

With CNBC Africa getting an almost negligible 2% of the total audience share of all DStv subscribers who watch the TV news channels (compared with eNCA at 51%, SABC News at 17% and Sky News at 11%) its perhaps time for the business network to actually tell the press, TV critics and viewers what there is to tune in for, and when.

Since its start in June 2007 in South Africa on DStv, CNBC Africa has done extremely little in consistently (or even non-consistently) publicising its schedule, programming highlights and shows or bringing it's line-up, special programming and breaking business news coverage under people's attention.

Ironically the myriad executive shuffles, content scandals and on-screen talent exists at CNBC Africa have been well-documented and publicised over the years.

No South African TV channel and no TV news channel had a worse launch than ANN7 (DStv 405). Yet ANN7 at one year old already has around 7% of the TV news viewers in South Africa.

CNBC Africa after 7 years couldn't even get a third of the viewers and audience share that ANN7 amassed in a year.

If CNBC Africa wants to grow it needs to lure viewers. Viewers however - with a bunch of choices - are not going to tune in if there's no reason for them to do so - and sadly CNBC Africa never tells anyone why or what for they should.

Opening bureaux across Africa isn't going to grow a TV news channel and you can do all the most incisive and exclusive and comprehensive reporting, talk shows with panel guests and stories you want.

If CNBC Africa viewers don't know about it - and in time to tune in and why it matters - none of it matters.