Via Media Bistro, comes this fascinating ratings tidbit:
"Jim Cramer‘s ratings must be causing some alarm in Engelwood Cliffs.
He fell below 200,000 total viewers at 6pm in May — averaging 175,000 for the month, a 29 percent drop from his 247,000 average in May 2006. (In March, he averaged 255,000, and in April, he averaged 205,000.)
In the 25-54 demo, the declines may be more ominous. Here’s the trend from January to May: 87,000, 72,000, 88,000, 59,000, 50,000. His May demo delivery of 50,000 is his worst in many months, and down 50 percent from last May’s average of 100,000…"
I have a few questions: The first one about this is from a Sentiment perspective — last year’s Booyah mania did not remotely mark a top — as I suspected it might have the potential to do. I even did a Street.com column raising the question last year (Monitoring the ‘Mad Money’ Madness).
Now, we see ratings have slipped. Is that simply the short attention span of today’s youth? Or, does the decreased viewership support the Bull’s argument that the sentiment out there is not excessively exuberant.
Maybe this is merely another example of the magazine cover indicator at work — this time, it might have been New York mag that top ticked the latest trend!?! Or, it could simply be a case of "Cramer Fatigue."
But the most likely candidate for the ratings slide are all of the "Cramer Watch" websites (including Seeking Alpha) posting his list of stock "Buys and Sells" have stolen some of the shows thunder — and ratings.
UPDATE: June 16, 2007 6:33am
The theory that is gaining the most traction in my mind is that websites are stealing Jim’s ratings by reproducing his Buys and Sells — without requiring an hour of viewing time.
Its is a zero sum game — their gains in traffic come at the expense of Jim’s ratings. See this recent traffic graph from the (unaffiliated) MaddMoney:
(Note that June is only thru 6/15)
This is but one of dozens of sites that track CNBC’s Mad Money, especially the stock Buys and Sells. I would suspect that all of these sites have pulled between off viewers of 25,000 to 50,000 per broadcast.
MY ADVICE: Call these bloggers into a meeting with Jim. Ask that they sequester the market calls for 48 hours. They are free riding on his work, and if they keep doing it, there may be no show at all.
DISCLOSURE: I am a contributor to TheStreet.com