News Nets Spin August Ratings


Fox News Channel is the hottest, Cable News Network is the most-watched,
MSNBC is the youngest and CNBC is happy to be beating CNN's Lou Dobbs
. After the final August ratings were released Tuesday, each
network found something positive to emphasize.

FNC and CNN tied for first place in the total-day category, with both
networks averaging 0.4 Nielsen Media Research ratings. CNN, which counts more
subscribers, pulled 294,000 households compared with 274,000 for FNC. But while
FNC jumped 106 percent in households compared with August 2000, CNN dropped 1
percent in households.

CNBC placed third with a 0.3 rating and 238,000 households, followed by
sister network MSNBC, which pulled a 0.3 rating and 196,000 households.

CNN Headline News -- which relaunched Aug. 6 with new anchors and a new set
-- placed last with a 0.2 total-day rating and 153,000 households. But the
network stressed that its total-day household count increased 14 percent
compared with August 2000 and that it beat MSNBC in the adults 18-plus
demographic on six days in August.

In the heated CNN-CNBC business-news rivalry, CNBC's Business Center
topped Moneyline by 14 percent during the 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. period
when the two shows competed head-to-head. Dobbs, who returned to CNN in May,
also saw his August ratings drop by 59 percent compared with August 1998, before
he had left CNN.

But CNN pointed out that Moneyline topped Business Center in
the adults 25-through-54 demo by 4 percent, delivering 82,000 adults in the
category. The network also noted that Moneyline jumped 50 percent in
ratings and 10 percent in households compared with August 2000.

On Monday, CNN moved up the starting time of Moneyline to 6 p.m.,
matching the starting time of Business Center. Moneyline pulled
183,000 households Monday in the new slot, falling short of the 239,000
Business Center drew.

Although MSNBC trails the competition in ratings, the network boasted that it
is drawing the youngest viewers. MSNBC said its viewers have a median age of 50,
compared with 62 for FNC and 65 for CNN.

In primetime, CNN and FNC tied for first place, each with a 0.7 rating. CNN's
606,000 average household count topped FNC's 498,000 average, but FNC jumped 72
percent in households while CNN fell 1 percent. MSNBC and CNBC both posted 0.4
ratings in primetime, followed by Headline News, which posted a 0.2