Piers Morgan Holding on, Thanks To Twitter?
Piers Morgan was replacing some big shoes when he stepped in at CNN, Ted Turner's brainchild and current Time Warner (NYSE:TWC) subsidiary. The results have been mixed, but Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) has helped keep his name and brand alive.
Marc Berman, editor-in-chief of TV Media Insights, believes that to be the case. Berman said Twitter engagement can temper struggling ratings.
"The clear case point was corny Syfy movie Sharknado, which from a ratings standpoint was average. But it went through the roof on Twitter and has spawned a sequel. Twitter is pivotal."
Pier Morgan Live launched on January 17, 2011, taking over the slot that Larry King held for 25 years. The debut episode drew 2.1 million viewers, which tripled King's numbers. The last couple years, however, have not been quite as kind.
In July of this year, CNN moved back to second place behind Fox (NASDAQ: FOXA) News Channel for the first time since 2010. It was good news for CNN President Jeff Zucker, who took over in January, but Morgan didn't fare so well. His ratings fells to their lowest point since his debut month.
Those on Twitter will quickly see that Morgan is not one to shy away from controversy. He has used the platform to call out potential guests, such as former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin, while also fervently discussing European soccer.
"He tends to be controversial and take positions that excite or infuriate many people — and they let him know about it," said Charles McGuinness via email. McGuiness uses his customs tools and analytics to break down various topics on Twitter. Morgan's uses of Twitter has kept him ahead of his prime-time competitors, as the chart below shows.
— Charles McGuinness (@SocialSeerCom) November 1, 2013
Morgan has seen his ratings fall even further after the launch of Fox News' new The Kelly File, with Megyn Kelly on October 7. A look at Wednesday night's ratings shows Morgan's overall viewers far behind Kelly's. In a key 24-45 year-old demographic, Morgan was 362,000 viewers short of the Fox News rookie.
Does his Twitter clout keep him from being pushed off of television? "I would say it's only helpful in an indirect fashion," said McGuinness. "People who see tweets about him may be motivated to watch his show. His ratings are what they are, but it's hard to say how much worse (or better?) they'd be without the Twitter activity."
A report on Mediaite on October 11 claims a source close to CNN said that Morgan's show or time slot could be altered within the next several months. As with all rumors, proceed with caution.
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