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by TS Kelly, SVP Research, Alphonso

Political leanings are somewhat easy to spot among the US cable news outlets – there’s no arguing that MSNBC leans progressive, Fox News conservative and CNN more moderate. The brands advertising on each news network also reveal some distinct patterns.

For example, in the minds of auto brand marketers, CNN viewers drive BMWs, MSNBC folks are split between Jeeps and Cadillacs, while Fox News viewers drive their GMC trucks and Chevys.

In addition, if February’s top ad spenders on each network are any indication, MSNBC viewers need to smile more often (Smile Direct Club), Fox News viewers are watching their figures (Nutrisystem, South Beach Diet and Jenny Craig) and CNN folks must address a serious skin condition (Pharma brands Otelza and Humira).

Brand Preferences by Program
Subtle program differences also surface when comparing shows on each network. For example, controversies aside, Hannity still delivers among mature adults and seniors based on the brands consistently advertising on his show including Coventry Direct, Clear Choice Cellular, LifeLock and a spate of pharma brands.

Other brands reveal their show preferences as well. Rachel Maddow has a favorite. While Rachel’s topics may prompt expressions of consternation, ad spots showcasing Smile Direct Club offers viewers something to smile about. T-Mobile is also unique, aligning itself almost exclusively with CNN with Anderson Cooper 360 the cornerstone of its cable news presence.

Pharma the Common Denominator
No favoritism here. Despite the cable news preferences of some brands, the one category heavily represented across all three networks is pharma. With Otelza leading the pack, all three cable news networks enjoyed significant investment (over $4.5M) from a wide array of pharma brands in February 2018.

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