The New York Observer’s Rebecca Dana writes in detail on the ramifications of the web wars between the three cable news channels…
In 1976’s Network, Faye Dunaway lusted after a 20 rating and a 30 share. In a contemporary remake—not necessarily the CBS one that George Clooney has in the works—that character would get just as hot for a 30 percent net penetration and a 30 percent audience growth rate. That is what MSNBC.com had last quarter, according to an independent study by Jupiter Research. CNN.com had around a 25 percent penetration, which means it reaches about a quarter of the online news audience, and a growth rate around 10 percent. Fox was the reverse: a penetration under 10 percent but a growth rate of 25 percent.
“We’re going to be ramping up pretty dramatically over the course of the year,” said Bert Solivan, the general manager of FoxNews.com. Fox is on par with the other networks in terms of the time each visitor spends on its site—a key factor in determining ad rates—but the network came late to the Internet, and without a portal (like MSN.com) to funnel viewers to the site, has struggled to catch up.
“News Corp. is really pushing heavy in the Internet space, with [Rupert] Murdoch making a big push online,” Mr. Solivan said. “Part and parcel of that is obviously the expansion of FoxNews.com. What we’re doing is, we’re building the technical and production infrastructure, and we’re expanding content across the board.”