‘NewsNation’ debut averages 116K viewers
The new three hour take on a national newscast hit a high of about 146,000 viewers during its second hour on debut night.
WGN America’s owner, Nexstar Media Group, notes that 75 million households receive the channel.
The newscast, which is sometimes compared by execs as seeing the major cable news and commentary networks as a rival didn’t even come close to those numbers. Even last place CNN brought in about 1.5 million more viewers on average in August 2020 than “NewsNation” did at its peak Tuesday.
Fox’s top rated conservative commentary channel reached about 3.6 million viewers on average during the same period.
Put another way, local newscasts in a major market, such as Chicago’s top rated WLS, attract over 200,000 viewers.
Nexstar says it spent $20 million to build new studios and a newsroom plus update the transmission and receiving gear at the Chicago home of broadcast station WGN.
Another $100 million has gone into advertising and promotion, though sources say that a good portion of that figure actually represents promos aired on Nexstar owned stations across the country that the company didn’t actually pay for directly.
There’s also reportedly a team of 150 working on the show.
While WGN America collects fees from cable and satellite providers, a good chunk of the revenue (and potential profit) for “NewsNation” will need to come from advertisers — and ad dollars depend heavily on both the amount of viewers and how many are in key demographic groups.
WGN America declined to discuss ratings goals or projections with NewscastStudio in an interview earlier this week.