The search for a submersible sent to tour the remains of the Titanic dominated coverage across cable news networks all week, along with the tragic news that the vessel most likely suffered a “catastrophic implosion,” killing all five on board.
According to the latest figures from Nielsen, all three cable news networks saw a viewership increase versus their averages from last month.
On Thursday, Fox News averaged 1.43 million viewers throughout the day, compared to 996,000 for MSNBC and 706,000 for CNN. In the 25-54 demo for total day viewers, Fox News averaged 184,000, compared to 179,000 for CNN and 124,000 for MSNBC. The audiences were slightly higher than on Wednesday.
In primetime, Fox News averaged 1.88 million, compared to 1.52 million for MSNBC and 859,000 for CNN. In the 25-54 demo, Fox News averaged 193,000, tied with CNN at 193,000. MSNBC averaged 155,000.
The extensive focus on the fate of the submersible drew some criticism and consternation, given the lack of coverage of recent tragic events with a greater loss of life. On Thursday, as the Coast Guard concluded that the discovery of a debris field near the Titanic wreckage pointed to a “catastrophic implosion” of the submersible, it eclipsed other stories, including the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Washington.
In May, Fox News averaged 1.09 million viewers in total day, compared to 736,000 for MSNBC and 416,000 for CNN. In June of last year, Fox News averaged 1.38 million in total day, compared to 765,000 for MSNBC and 486,000 for CNN.
The OceanGate submersible was carrying its CEO Stockton Rush, explorer Hamish Harding, businessman Shahzada Dawood and his son Suleman and explorer Paul-Henri Nargeolet. Coverage continued on Friday, with a focus on the safety of the vessel and the ongoing investigation of what caused it to implode.