CNN Ratings – The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Whether or not you’re familiar with CNN’s ratings, you can count on them to be pretty good. In fact, CNN’s average prime time audience is over 500,000 viewers, outperforming its rival MSNBC for 98 consecutive months. It’s also consistently out-performed MSNBC during the weekends and in its key demo of 25-54.
cnn’s average prime time audience is just over 500,000
Since Chris Licht became president of CNN last May, the network has undergone major changes. It aims to be less partisan and more neutral in its tone. But this change alone isn’t enough to make CNN’s average prime time audience climb back up. The network also lost viewers in January, February, and March, according to Nielsen data.
Overall, CNN’s ratings have been declining for the past year. While CNN’s primetime audience remains steady, its daytime lineup has been losing viewers. In June, the network’s daytime audience dropped 3% month-over-month, especially in the 25-54 age group. As a result, the network averaged just over 500,000 viewers during that time, a 1% decrease from May.
It outperformed MSNBC for 98 straight months
CNN has outperformed MSNBC for 98 consecutive months, according to Nielsen Media Research. The network beat MSNBC during its primetime program Dayside (9am to 4pm) for the third month in a row and now ranks #2 in all of cable. Additionally, CNN beat MSNBC during all 24 hours of weekend prime time and beat them in the demo 25-54. Moreover, all of CNN’s Sunday morning shows also outperformed MSNBC’s shows in April.
The network’s prime-time ratings grew 3% last month, putting it ahead of MSNBC for the seventh month in a row. The network topped MSNBC in total viewers, and is now ahead in the demo, but the ratings of CNN’s flagship program have decreased.
It outperformed rival MSNBC on weekends
CNBC outperformed rival MSNBC on the weekends in both total viewers and the 25-54 demo in 2021, as two of its Saturday morning shows surpassed MSNBC in that demo. Both New Day with John Berman and Brianna Keilar and Anderson Cooper 360 beat MSNBC in their respective time periods. In the same demo, both programs topped MSNBC’s All in With Chris Hayes.
In addition, CNN outpaced MSNBC in all dayparts last quarter. In its prime time slot, CNN scored the third-best delivery in history, while MSNBC ranked fourth. The news network dominated in both demos for the past eight quarters.
It outperformed rival MSNBC in the key demo 25-54
CNBC outperformed rival MSNBC in a key demo this past weekend, with its show The Lead with Jake Tapper beating the network in the key demo of 25-54 for the third straight month. In April, CNBC showed a significant advantage over its rival, as its new program, “New Day Weekend with Christi Paul and Boris Sanchez,” outrated MSNBC in the demo by more than three points.
The number of adults 25-54 on both networks fell slightly. The former had a higher overall audience, but lost a higher-than-average share of the 25-54 demo. On the other hand, the latter lost more viewers in primetime, and dropped by 9% in total day adults.
- In Total Day (6am-6am), CNN easily beat MSNBC in the key demo adults 25-54 (133k vs. MSNBC’s 76k) in April. CNN has now outperformed MSNBC for the 29th consecutive month in Total Day demo 25-54. MSNBC had its lowest Total Day since 2004 (76k) in the demo.
- In Prime Time (M-Su 8-11pm), CNN outperformed MSNBC (171k vs. 128k), now for the fourth straight month among adults 25-54. MSNBC had its lowest demo delivery in M-Su prime (128k) and M-F prime (161k) in the key demo since 2015.
- In Weekday Prime Time (M-F 8-11pm), CNN beat MSNBC (190k vs. 161k) for the third consecutive month in the demo.