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Cable News Networks Cut Ad Loads on Election Night

As America went to the polls Tuesday and then flipped on TV sets to see the results roll in, cable news networks were ready for a big night of coverage, with many (perhaps unsurprisingly) reducing the number of commercials during primetime coverage (7-10pm). Of the big three (Fox News, CNN and MSNBC), CNN had the smallest ad load. Specifically:

  • CNN had only ten commercial advertisers and one non-profit, accounting for six minutes of advertising (down from over 42 minutes the night prior).
  • MSNBC had 32 brand advertisers and 19 minutes of commercials (down from over 32 minutes Monday night).
  • Fox News had 47 advertisers and 25 minutes of ads, down from 38 the previous night.

Looking at the brands themselves across all cable news networks, tech brands — Apple iPhone, Portal from Facebook, PlayStation and Google Home — had the biggest budgets.

When it came to airtime for both broadcast and cable news, the advertisers that grabbed the most were Xarelto (6.25 minutes), Columbia Pictures (5), Liberty Mutual (4.5) and Universal Pictures (3.75).