Will MSNBC be left out of the upcoming Apple Streaming TV Service?

The NY Times has details today of Apple’s upcoming streaming TV service, and there’s one quote that has me wondering:

One major entertainment company not involved in the latest round of discussions is Comcast and its NBCUniversal entertainment group, the people said.

Although the article focuses more on NBCUniversal’s entertainment channels, there’s one other channel in its lineup: the MSNBC news network. Apple’s not striking a deal with Comcast means that MSNBC would be excluded from Apple’s streaming service.  The article indicates that Fox is included in the service, so, presumably, Fox News would be available.

Dish TV’s Sling TV service includes CNN, so it’s not hard to envision Apple picking up CNN as well.  That means, in the end, Apple could offer all the major Cable News networks except MSNBC.

That’s the problem with being owned by a content distribution company — MSNBC could find what’s best for it (widest distribution across all channels) is at odds with what’s best for its parent (people sticking to cable TV), and MSNBC would end up the loser in that battle.

Cable News Twitter Ratings for Saturday, March 15, 2014 – The Slow Deflation of The Melissa Harris-Perry Show

The Melissa Harris-Perry Show won best hour, barely, with a very light number of mentions.  It’s score, 850 mentions for the 11am hour, wasn’t too far ahead of the 804 Up with Steve Kornacki got at 8 am or Disrupt with Karen Finney‘s  375 at the 4pm hour.  Up through the beginning of February, the MHP show was regularly pulling in over 2000 mentions during the same hour, and sometimes far more.

Unfortunately for MSNBC and The MHP Show‘s ratings, two big things have affected the show.  The first was the Winter Olympics, which took up most of the month of February and scrambled MSNBC’s weekend schedule by pre-empting shows with sporting events. Even when The MHP Show was unaffected, frequently Up with Steve Kornacki was replaced with a hockey game.  The second is (still) the host’s maternity leave, which started mid-February.  These two have acted like a slow leak on audience engagement over the past month and a half.

Even though the show has been ably served by a series of guest hosts, it is clear that the audience misses the sparkle of Ms. Harris-Perry.   Let’s hope, for her and MSNBC’s sake, the audience doesn’t develop new habits for weekend mornings and her engagement levels are restored upon her return.

Caveat: I am not measuring the separate, personal engagement of the substitute hosts but only the show’s Twitter accounts and hashtags.  I do not expect that this makes a large difference, but I could be wrong.

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Cable News Twitter Ratings for January 30, 2014 — Tweet! Tweet!

One of the problems with doing Twitter analytics for shows is that not all shows have unique Twitter accounts or hashtags.  And so for “generic” shows I use the network’s Twitter account under the assumption that anyone who wants to mention the show will be stuck using the general account, like @MSNBC.   Such is the case for MSNBC Live, which is the general news shows MSNBC fills holes in its schedule.

But every once in a while this blows up: people are talking about the network itself, rather than its shows.  Such was the case on Thursday, when the dust-up over a tweet that implied that right wingers are against inter-racial marriage stormed Twitter, and people mentioned @MSNBC all over the place.

So, when you see the stats below for most popular show hour and day, it just means that MSNBC itself was the dominant topic.  Absent that, The Ed Show would have been in first place.

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Cable News Twitter Ratings for Sunday, January 26, 2014 — It was Melissa Harris-Perry Day!

A great double win by the Melissa Harris-Perry show: best hour and most mentions during the day, with volumes about double her normal levels. 4652 mentions during her last hour was a very high number, better than the best we see with weekday, primetime shows.

An interesting addition to the day was MSNBC’s irregularly scheduled “Taking the Hill Show”, which ran at 1pm, and received a modestly decent amount of mentions during its hour and day.

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Cable News Twitter Ratings for Saturday, January 25, 2014 — Melissa Harris-Perry Shows Up The Rest

Par for the course, the Melissa Harris-Perry show had the most mentions in an hour on Saturday in her second hour.  The morning block on MSNBC from 8am ET to noon represents the vast majority of the activity on Twitter for all shows, and demonstrates the quality and depth of content MSNBC puts out for the early risers.

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