New research shows widespread international interest in US Election with CNN as #1 news destination
May 9th, 2016
10:37 AM ET

New research shows widespread international interest in US Election with CNN as #1 news destination

  • CNN named #1 international news destination for US Election coverage
  • Network to launch nightly US Election show for international audiences

CNN International Commercial commissioned new research that shows huge demand from worldwide audiences in following the story of this year’s US Elections. The study also confirms CNN as the leading international media covering the US Election – building on the network’s agenda-setting coverage and record TV and digital ratings during the Presidential race so far.

To understand how the world views and is following one of the biggest stories of 2016, CNN commissioned independent research company Toluna to assess* the viewing habits and opinions of adults in 23 countries across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific, plus Canada. The findings of this research were released ahead of CNN International launching a new nightly US Election show – State of the Race. From 16 May, the show will be anchored from CNN’s New York bureau by Kate Bolduan and give international audiences 30 minutes of insight and analysis into the story that the world is watching with intense interest.

In the research findings released today, 51% of all respondents select CNN as the #1 international news provider for following the US Election – a figure higher than all other news organisations combined and dwarfing any preference for other media such as BBC (19%), Reuters (5%) and Sky News (4%). 78% of respondents say they have viewed or read CNN coverage, with 83% of these people consuming CNN’s political content within the last week. The majority of people getting their news fix about the US Election are doing so through CNN International’s linear channel – 50% say they consume via TV, 31% on the CNN website, 14% on social media and 8% via the CNN app.

Outside of news consumption habits, the study found huge interest amongst international audiences for the US Election. 85% of people view the election as important for the world at large, with 73% of respondents saying they are personally interested in US Election news.

The top reasons that people state as why they are interested in the US Election are: importance for the world at large (68%); importance for their country (47%); potential to affect individuals economically (38%); insight into the US political system (35%); shows how Americans view the world (34%); and the personalities of the competing  candidates (33%). Asked why they think the US Election is important to the world at large – respondents say it is due to: the US’s significance to the global economy (64%); implications for international relations (63%); US’s role in global security and counter-terrorism (57%); trade prospects and potential for a shift to more hardline US foreign policy (both 43%).

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In Europe:

  • 38% of respondents select CNN as the #1 news source – ahead of BBC (26%), Sky News (9%) and Euronews (6%)
  • 63% of people have followed the US Election story on CNN – 34% have done so via TV, 19% on the CNN website, 6% on social media and 4% via the CNN app
  • The top reasons that Europeans are interested in the US Election are: its importance for the world at large (69%); its importance for my country (40%); shows me how Americans view the world (35%); the insight it gives me into the US political system (34%); the personalities of the competing candidates (29%); and helps me understand what is important to Americans (28%)

In Asia Pacific:

  • 52% of respondents select CNN as the #1 news source – ahead of BBC (16%), Reuters (7%) and CNBC (5%)
  • 80% of people have followed the US Election story on CNN – of these 46% have done so via TV, 35% on the CNN website, 19% on social media and 12% via the CNN app
  • The top reasons that Asia Pacific audiences list are interested in the US Election are: its importance for the world at large (68%); its importance for my country (50%); its potential to affect me economically (44%); the insight it gives me into the US political system (38%); shows me how Americans view the world (37%); and the insight it gives me into the US political system (37%)
  • This research follows the recent Ipsos Affluent Survey Asia Pacific which confirmed CNN as the leading international news brand, TV channel and digital platform across the region in all metrics. Ipsos found that every month, 35% of the region’s affluent audiences consume CNN at a multiplatform brand level, and both CNN’s TV and digital audiences are at least 50% ahead of BBC, and more than twice the level of CNBC and Bloomberg

Across Africa and the Middle East:

  • 52% of respondents select CNN as the #1 news source – ahead of BBC (20%), Sky News (7%) and Reuters (5%)
  • 89% of people have followed the US Election story on CNN – 62% have done so via TV, 37% on the CNN website, 19% on social media and 10% via the CNN app
  • The top reasons that African and Middle Eastern audiences are interested in the US Election are: its importance for the world at large (66%); its potential to affect me economically (48%); the insight it gives me into the US political system (44%); its importance for my country (42%); shows me how Americans view the world (39%); and the personalities of the competing candidates (39%)

In Latin America:

  • 69% of respondents select CNN as the #1 news source – ahead of BBC (13%), CNBC (3%), Wall Street Journal (3%) and Reuters (3%)
  • 90% of people have followed the US Election story on CNN – 71% have done so via TV, 37% on the CNN website, 14% on social media and 7% via the CNN app
  • The top reasons that Latin American audiences are interested in the US Election are: its importance for the world at large (67%); its importance for my country (51%); its potential to affect me economically (32%); the personalities of the competing candidates (26%); the insight it gives me into the US political system (25%); and shows me how Americans view the world (24%)

Specifically commenting on CNN’s coverage of the US Election, 66% say the network’s coverage is informed and intelligent, 64% expertly presented, 64% comprehensive, 62% engaging, and 60% as setting the standard.

These findings follow record-breaking TV and digital ratings in CNN US for the network’s coverage of the election. With CNN leading the way in exclusive interviews, townhalls and debates, the network had its most watched quarter in seven years in January-March 2016 – a performance that saw CNN as the fastest growing Top 40 cable network in primetime, up triple-digits in total viewers and adults 25-54. In September 2015, CNN broadcast the most-watched programme in its history as its GOP debate was watched by an average 23.1 million people. On digital, CNN Politics posted its highest ever traffic in February 2016 – in its 12th straight month as the US’s #1 source for political news online, it had a record 36 million unique multiplatform visitors.

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Rani Raad, President, CNN International Commercial, said: “This research shows the unprecedented interest in this year’s US Election – it has global reach and a mix of policy debates that have the potential to affect the world at large. In a world where consumers have more access to news and information than ever before, CNN continues to lead the way as the world’s news leader and the trusted source that audiences turn to more than anyone else. This study builds on CNN’s record-breaking ratings and traffic in the US and is the type of insight that shows us the level of demand there is for coverage of this race.”

*CNN US Election Global View Study, conducted by Toluna, surveyed 4,792 adults in 23 countries across Europe, Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Asia Pacific (+ Canada). The study was conducted in March 2016.

** Ipsos Affluent Survey Asia Pacific: Q1-Q4 2015


Topics: 2016 Election • CNN • CNN International
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