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C-SPAN, cable news networks see boost in ratings from House speaker drama

Posted at 7:59 PM, Jan 06, 2023

The political theater this week to elect a speaker of the House of Representatives went on for days and hours, and seemingly endless rounds of voting.

It was a grueling battle, day after day, as lawmakers adjourned multiple times to take a break and try and whip up enough votes from the GOP to elect California Rep. Kevin McCarthy as House speaker — It wasn't happening.

Late into Friday lawmakers continued to hurry up and wait, if you will, all while cable news, and specifically the low production classic C-SPAN, enjoyed a boost in ratings for its channel over cable and online.

C-SPAN is hardly the go-to channel for entertainment, but it is where you go to see, sometimes, uninterrupted coverage of our United States government in action. And action they gave.

While the big cable news networks battled for ratings over the attention grabbing political event to get back to the business of government and elect a House speaker — CNN gained a small edge over Fox News in its key demographic with viewers 25 to 54, the New York Times reported — C-SPAN's sparsely interrupted view on Capitol Hill saw the highest bump in attention from its former stature.

MSNBC noted it was set to see its highest rated week in 6 months, but for those who wanted a little less filter over their view of the story, C-SPAN delivered.

New York Times media watcher Michael M. Grynbaum reported that the government-focused cable network saw a record number of downloads for its mobile app, and trended on Twitter.

C-SPAN's YouTube stream had 1.2 million views at one point this week.

The Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network (C-SPAN), which started in 1979 as a nonprofit public service to give Americans a view of their government working, had a moment this week to show off its value to the public.