April 2nd, 2019

CNN Tops MSNBC for 20th Straight Quarter in Key Demo

Network Grows in Prime Time vs. Last Year


Has Third-Best First Quarter in 10 Years among Total Viewers in Total Day and Prime Time


Erin Burnett Outfront and AC 360 Deliver Higher Demo Audiences than MSNBC

Cuomo Prime Time is CNN’s Highest-Rated News Program This Quarter; Up an Impressive +23%

CNN Tonight with Don Lemon has Second Highest 1Q on Record


 CNN Ranks as a Top 10 Network in All of Cable for Eleventh Quarter


With the first quarter of 2019 ending on Sunday, March 31st, CNN once again surpassed MSNBC in total day, daytime and on weekends among adults 25-54.  CNN has now outperformed MSNBC for 20 straight quarters in total day in the key demographic 25-54 (201k vs. MSNBC’s 185k), the longest quarterly streak since 2Q 2010. This is CNN’s third best first quarter in 10 years (since 2009) in total viewers.  In dayside, CNN dominated MSNBC for the 26th consecutive quarter in the coveted demographic adults 25-54 (198k vs. MSNBC’s 163k) and had the network’s third highest delivery since 2003 in total viewers. In prime time (M-Su), CNN is up +7% in total viewers vs. last year and is having its third highest first quarter audience delivery (1.079 million) in 10 years (since 2009).  In M-F prime time, the network is also up, growing +11% in total viewers and is also having its third highest 1Q since 2009 (1.249 million).  On weekends, CNN topped MSNBC (158k vs. MSNBC’s 107k) in total day as well as during prime time (174k vs. 106k) among adults 25-54.  CNN also delivered higher demo 25-54 audiences than MSNBC for all 24 hours on both Saturdays and Sundays.

First Quarter Trackers:


First Quarter 2019 News Program Highlights:

  • The Lead with Jake Tapper (4pm) drew more viewers than MSNBC’s Deadline White House (235k vs. MSNBC’s 230k) in adults 25-54. The Tapper-led program has now outperformed MSNBC for the third straight quarter and for 23 of the past 24 quarters. The Lead was up +2% in total viewers vs. last year.
  • Erin Burnett Outfront (7pm) ranked #2 in cable news among adults 25-54 ahead of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews for the third consecutive quarter (308k vs. MSNBC’s 273k).  EBOF has now topped MSNBC for 17 of the past 19 quarters.  This is the Burnett-led program’s third highest first quarter on record in both total viewers (994k) and in the demo 25-54 (308k) behind 2017 and 2018.
  • Anderson Cooper 360 (8pm) surpassed MSNBC’s All in With Chris Hayes this quarter in the key demo adults 25-54 (351k vs. MSNBC’s 340k), now topping Hayes for the third straight quarter and for 17 out of the past 20 quarters. This is the Cooper-led program’s second highest first quarter on record among total viewers (1.237 million, behind 2017) and third highest in the demo 25-54 (351k, behind 2017 and 2018).  AC 360 grew the most in cable news among total viewers during the 8pm time period, increasing +6%, while Fox’s Tucker was up +2% and MSNBC was flat compared to last year.
  • Cuomo Prime Time with Chris Cuomo (9pm) is CNN’s #1 news program this quarter in both total viewers (1.339 million) and adults 25-54 (382k). This is the network’s overall third-highest first quarter in 17 years (since 2003) in total viewers (behind 2017 and 2009) and third highest among adults 25-54 since 1998 (behind 2003 and 2017).  Cuomo Prime Time grew the most in M-F prime time among cable news this quarter, increasing an impressive +23% in total viewers, while Fox’s Hannity and MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show are up just +1% vs. last year.  Among adults 25-54, Cuomo Prime Time was the only 9pm program to retain audience vs. a year ago, while both Hannity (-14%) and Maddow are down (-19%). 1Q-19 is the smallest first quarter gap between CNN and Fox since 2008.
  • CNN Tonight with Don Lemon grew the most among total viewers in cable news at 10pm, increasing double-digits (+15%), while Fox’s Ingraham was down -2% and MSNBC’s Last Word was up +3%.  This is CNN Tonight’s second best first quarter on record in total viewers (1.164 million, behind 2017) and third best among adults 25-54 (361k, after 2017 and 2018).
  • The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer topped MSNBC at both 5pm (254k vs. MSNBC’s 222k) and at 6pm (270k vs. 249k) now for 19 straight quarters.  This is the longest quarterly streak since 3Q-2010 at 5pm and since 3Q-2009 at 6pm. The Blitzer-led program also posted its third highest 1Q on record at 5pm among total viewers, after 2017 and 2009.
  • New Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman (6a-9a) had its third best first quarter on record in total viewers (562k) and among adults 25-54 (170k), after 2018 and 2017.

Other key CNN programs including Early Start with Christine Romans and Dave Briggs, CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto, At This Hour with Kate Bolduan, Inside Politics with John King (weekday), CNN Right Now with Brianna Keilar, and CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin all easily surpassed MSNBC this quarter, posting higher 25-54 audiences.  Smerconish (Saturdays) and on Sunday mornings, Inside Politics with John King, State of the Union with Jake Tapper, Fareed Zakaria GPS, Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter, New Day (weekends) and CNN Newsroom all posted more viewers – by double digits — in the key demo 25-54 than MSNBC, ranking #2 in cable news.  CNN Special Report: Facebook at 15: It’s Complicated ranked #2 across cable news among 25-54, easily outperforming MSNBC as well.

CNN Newsroom with Fredicka Whitfield (Sat/Sun), CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera (Sat/Sun) S.E. Cupp UnfilteredThe Van Jones Show and The Axe Files with David Axelrod all ranked #1 in cable news in 1Q-19 among adults 25-54CNN Special Report: Saudi Arabia: Kingdom of Secrets, hosted by Fareed Zakaria (3/3/19, 8pm) is the #1 ranked Special Report so far in 2019 among adults 25-54. This CSR ranked #1 in all of cable news (341k) outperforming Fox (183k) by +86% and MSNBC (132k) by +158% in the time period.

First Quarter 2019 Original Series and CNN Films Highlights:

  • Tricky Dick (3/17/19-3/31/19, Sundays 9pm) ranked #1 in cable news in the key demo adults 25-54 with 223k so far this season.  In total viewers, the series averaged 940k and 30k among young viewers (18-34) across its two premiere episodes so far this season. Versus the prior four time period average, Tricky Dick posted the largest growth in cable news among both the demo adults 25-54 and total viewers.
  • The Bush Years (3/3/19 – 3/31/19, Sundays 9 and 10pm) registered 205k in the key demo 25-54, 805k among total viewers and 34k in 18-34 season-to-date. So far this season, the CNN Original Series outperformed MSNBC by double-digits among 25-54 (+93%) and total viewers (+29%) and by triple-digits among 18-34 (+127%).
  • American Style (1/13/19-1/20/19, Sundays 9 and 10pm) ranked #1 in the key demo 25-54 across cable news in the Sunday 9-11pm block.  Every episode ranked #1 among adults 25-54 across cable news in its respective hour.  Versus the prior four time period average, American Style posted the largest growth in cable news among total viewers and the second largest growth among both 25-54 and 18-34.

This quarter, The Bush Years and American Style rank #3 and #4 respectively among the top 10 non-fiction Historical series in All of Cable among 25-54.

  • CNN Films: Three Identical Strangers debuted as CNN’s most-watched CNN Film premiere to date among both adults 25-54 and total viewers (January 27, 9-11pm). The film attracted 2.523 million total viewers, +423% above MSNBC’s 482k and +68% ahead of Fox’s 1.506 million. Among adults 25-54, the film averaged 654k, and outperformed Fox’s 246k by +166% and MSNBC’s 100k by +554% in the time period.  Among all CNN Films premieres to-date, Three Identical Strangers posted the largest live+7 versus live net DVR growth among both total viewers (+902k) and 25-54 (+297k).
  • CNN Films: Love, Gilda premiered at #1 in cable news in both total viewers and among adults 25-54 (January 1, 9-10:40pm).  In total viewers, Love, Gilda averaged 1.690 million total viewers, +60% more than Fox’s 1.058 million and a +212% lead over MSNBC’s 541k.  In the key demographic adults 25-54, the film attracted 372k, +125% more than MSNBC’s 165k and +153% more than Fox’s 147k.

All of Cable

Among ALL cable networks, CNN ranked #7 in total day and #9 in weekday prime time among total viewers this quarter.  This marks the 11th straight quarter and longest quarterly streak in over 22 years (since 4Q 1995) that CNN is a Top 10 cable network among total viewers in total day.

Median Age:

CNN attracted an audience that is three years younger than both Fox News and MSNBC in total day.  CNN is four years younger than Fox News and five years younger than MSNBC in prime time.  MSNBC is tracking at its oldest yearly median age on record in total day and prime time.

Cable News TV Reach:

CNN continues to reach the largest cumulative TV audience (among both total viewers and adults 25-54) of any cable news network in 1Q-19 making this the 18th consecutive year on record for the network.

*Multiplatform Reach:

As of January 2019, CNN reaches more people than any other news brand across TV and digital and reaches more people in ages 18-34 and 25-54 than any other news brand across TV and digital.

NOTE: due to data limitations, X Media data is on a delayed delivery and therefore the above represents January 2019

Digital Lift:

In 1Q-19, live viewing on digital has provided a 2.4% lift to the CNN linear audience.

First Quarter Out-of Home-Viewing

First quarter 2019, in total day, CNN is averaging a +5% lift (+10k) among adults 25-54  and a +3% lift (+23k) in total viewers with Out-of-Home viewers.

*Multiplatform Reach Source: Reach: comScore X Media Total view Audience Analysis Report. Reach includes TV & Digital (computer & mobile). Live +7. Period: Jan 2019. Entities included in analysis (in order of P2+ avg monthly ranking): CNN (172mm): ([TN] CNN + [C] *CNN.com); CNN ranks #1 among all these brands in P18-34 (41mm) and P25-54 (83mm), CBS News (170mm):  ([S] CBSNews.com + [TS] relevant broadcast news titles), NBC News (169mm): ([C] NBCNews.com + [TS] relevant broadcast news titles), Fox News (156mm): ([TN] Fox News Channel + [M]FOXNews.com), ABC News (132mm): ([SG] ABCNews.com + [TS] relevant broadcast news titles), Weather (98mm): ([TG] The Weather Channel (TV) + [C] Weather.com), NYTimes (94mm): ([M] The New York Times Brand), CNBC (90mm):  ([TN] Fox Business Network + [M] Foxbusiness.com), Washington Post (87mm): ([P] Washingtonpost.com), BuzzFeed (69mm): ([P] BuzzFeed), USA Today (64mm): ([E] USAToday.com), BBC News (60mm): ([TN] BBC World News + [P] BBC Sites), MSNBC (55mm): ([TN] MSNBC + [C] MSNBC TV), Huffington Post (51mm): ([E] HuffPost US (All Inclusive), Yahoo News (51mm): ([C] Yahoo News), VICE (49mm): ([M] Vice.com + [TS] Vice on HBO), Vox (32mm): ([M] Vox.com). ESPN ([TN] ESPN + [M] ESPN) is excluded from this report.