CNN's Ratings Momentum Continues; Network Posts Big Gains Over Last Year
February 24th, 2015
02:28 PM ET

CNN's Ratings Momentum Continues; Network Posts Big Gains Over Last Year

CNN Beats MSNBC for Eighth Straight Month 

New Day Outperforms MSNBC’s Morning Joe Again; Tops by Largest Demo Margin Ever 

MSNBC Sheds Viewers by Large Margins; Hits Decade Lows; 

Lost 55% of Primetime and 66% of Daytime Audience

CNN’s ratings momentum continued in February, with the network ranking #2 in cable news in total day in both total viewers and the demo 25-54, easily topping MSNBC. CNN also beat MSNBC once again in both M-Su and M-F primetime (demo 25-54) this month.  The network has now outperformed MSNBC for eight straight months in total day (among both viewers and demo) and in M-Su/M-F prime (demo) - the longest streak across these dayparts in over six years (since November 2008).

CNN had big ratings gains this month, with all dayparts up significantly from year-ago levels, posting the largest growth in cable news.  MSNBC continued to shed viewers, decreasing double-digits in all three key dayparts among P2+ and 25-54, posting the largest declines.  CNN also posted the largest increases in daytime (9a-4p) among both total viewers and demo, while MSNBC daytime is down a whopping -66% to 36k in the demo, its lowest delivery in over 15 years.

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CNN’s weekday primetime programs all ranked second in cable news (demo), registering impressive growth this month especially in the demo (Erin Burnett Outfront  up +102%,  AC 360 up +58%, CNN 9pm programming up +111% and 10pm programming (mostly CNN Tonight) up +66%); while MSNBC lost a staggering -55% of its weekday primetime audience.  CNN has now topped MSNBC across the M-F 7p, 8p, 9p and 10p hours in the demo 25-54 for seven straight months.  CNN’s D.C.-based and Sunday morning programming all posted significant growth and easily topped MSNBC this month.

Over its five Thursday 9-10pm premieres-to-date (1/22-2/19/15) in season three, the CNN Original Series Morgan Spurlock: Inside Man ranks #2 among 25-54 across cable news in its time period, ahead of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow ShowInside Man is tracking to have its strongest season yet among both total viewers and the demo 25-54.

CNN Program Highlights:

  • CNN’s New Day (6-9am) beat Morning Joe once again this month in both total viewers (388k vs. MSNBC’s 327k) and the demo 25-54 (132k vs. MSNBC’s 79k).  New Day has now topped Morning Joe for the 5th straight month in both demos, the 8th straight month in 25-54 and the 5th straight month in total viewers.  These are the longest streaks since the program’s debut in June 2013.  New Day is also posting its largest monthly demo advantage on record over Morning Joe. While New Day is up +67% in both demos, Morning Joe ranked 3rd in total viewers (declining -14% from a year ago) and placed 4th in the demo (down -38%).
  • The Lead with Jake Tapper (4pm) ranked #2 in cable news at 4pm, easily topping MSNBC in both total viewers (592k vs. MSNBC’s 312k) and the demo 25-54 (145k vs. 49k).  The Lead also posted significant growth this month, increasing +67% in total viewers and +56% in the demo.  MSNBC was down -25%/-55% respectively.
  • The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (5-7pm) also had a very strong February, easily topping MSNBC in both total viewers and the demo.  The Blitzer-led program was also up +72% in total viewers and up +94% in the demo 25-54 vs. a year ago.  MSNBC’s The Ed Show (5pm) was down -59% and Politics Nation (6pm) declined -55% in the demo from a year ago.
  • Erin Burnett Outfront (7pm) easily beat MSNBC’s Hardball in the demo (202k vs. 128k).  EBOF grew triple digits in both total viewers (+109%) and the demo (+102%) vs. last year.  Hardball was down -46% in the demo and -25% in total viewers.
  • Anderson Cooper 360 (8pm) ranked #2 in cable news, topping MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes in both total viewers (637k vs. 602k) and in the demo (202k vs. 113k). AC 360 also posted significant growth vs. a year ago, increasing +51% in total viewers and +58% in the demo. MSNBC’s Hayes decreased -24%/-53% from a year ago.
  • CNN programming at 9pm ranked #2 in the demo in cable news this month, increasing +71% in total viewers (597k) and +111% in the demo (213k) from a year ago.  MSNBC’s flagship primetime program The Rachel Maddow Show trailed CNN again this month, ranking #3 in the demo (147k), shedding -51% of its audience from a year ago.
  • CNN programming at 10pm (mostly CNN Tonight) topped MSNBC in the demo this month (176k vs. MSNBC’s 106k).  At 10pm, CNN increased +57% in total viewers and +66% in the demo – while MSNBC declined -26%/-51%.
  • Smerconish ranked #2 in total viewers and the demo – increasing +83% in total viewers and +66% in the demo on Saturdays at 9am.  At 6pm, the program ranked #1 in the demo with 154k, Fox News followed with 131k and MSNBC had 125k.
  • Fareed Zakaria GPS ranked #2 in both total viewers and the demo 25-54 at 10am and 1pm.  GPS grew double-digits in both demos, both hours; while MSNBC declined double-digits.
  • Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter ranked #2 this month in both total viewers (603k) and among 25-54 (170k) at 11am.  RS increased +66% in total viewers and +59% in the demo vs. last year. 

MSNBC Monthly Lows:

  • In Total Day, MSNBC’s demo delivery (81k) is its lowest since May 2005 and total viewer delivery (313k) is the lowest since December 2007;
  • In M-Su Primetime, MSNBC’s demo delivery (122k) is the lowest since July 2005;
  • In M-F Primetime, MSNBC’s demo delivery (120k) is the second lowest since July 2005;
  • In Dayside (9a-4p), MSNBC’s demo delivery (36k) is its lowest in over 15 years (since October 1999) and total viewer performance (232k) is the lowest since December 2007;
  • Weekday mornings (6-9am), MSNBC’s Morning Joe had its second lowest demo delivery (79k)  in over seven years (since November 2007) and fourth lowest in total viewers (327k) since August 2008;
  • All in with Chris Hayes, which debuted in April 2013, had its second lowest monthly demo delivery (113k) on record (after October 2014).  In the M-F 8pm hour, MSNBC had its second lowest demo delivery since August 2005 (after October 2014);
  • The Rachel Maddow Show had its second lowest monthly demo delivery (147k) on record (after October 2014) this month.
  • The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, also averaged its second lowest monthly delivery (109k) on record (after October 2014) and the network’s lowest 10pm delivery since May 2005.

Data is a blend of Nielsen Live+SD and the more inclusive Live+3 and final Live+7 data when available.

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