The cable news wars have a few double agents in their midst. According to Pew’s latest study on how Americans watch TV news, some Fox News viewers also watch MSNBC — and vice versa. An even larger percentage of both audiences also watch CNN.
According to Nielsen data prepared for Pew’s study, about a third of people who watched MSNBC also watched Fox News, while just over half of them also watched CNN.
A slighty smaller percentage — 28 — of Fox News viewers also watched MSNBC, although since Fox News has more actual viewers than MSNBC, the actual number of viewers may be higher. Forty-four percent of Fox News viewers also watch CNN.
As for CNN viewers, 38 percent also watch MSNBC and 39 watch Fox News.
CNN also topped the viewership levels — 20 percent of American adults while Fox News had 18 and MSNBC had 14 — but lags behind Fox News in the ratings because those viewers aren’t watching its scheduled programs like they are Fox News'; that is, there wasn’t enough “appointment viewing.”
The data’s from February 2013, when CNN CEO Jeff Zucker was just a month into his reign. He’s since put several new shows in CNN’s lineup; perhaps the channel will fare better as an appointment viewing destination in future studies.
The study also looked at where Americans got the TV news. Local affiliate news programs came out on top — 71 percent of Americans watch their local news shows. Sixty-five percent watch network news shows, and just 38 percent watched cable. The cable news watchers devoted nearly twice as much time than the local and network viewers.