Coverage boosts cable news ratings
By Mark Jurkowitz, Globe Staff, 07/21/99
Even with competitive coverage from the major broadcast networks, the John F. Kennedy Jr. tragedy provided a huge viewership spike - and some record audiences - for the cable news channels last weekend.
Garnering an average 1.2 rating (600,000 households) on Saturday and a 1.5 rating on Sunday (767,000 households), the Kennedy story provided MSNBC with its two highest viewership days, edging out the death of Diana, princess of Wales, and the Littleton High School shootings, according to ratings released yesterday.
Third-ranked Fox News Channel earned a 1.2 rating (504,000 households) on Sunday, topping its previous 24-hour high on April 20 when the Littleton massacre brought the outlet a .9 rating (361,000 households).
And CNN racked up a 1.9 rating (1.42 million households) on Saturday and a 2.5 rating (1.91 million households) on Sunday. While Sunday's numbers fell far short of CNN's busiest day - at the outset of the 1991 Gulf War - they edged out the highest ratings (2.3 and 1.6 million households) for Princess Di coverage.
Locally, New England Cable News tripled its normal weekend audience.
This story ran on page A13 of the Boston Globe on 07/21/99.
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