August 28th, 2020

Across Conventions (RNC & DNC) CNN Beat All the Broadcast Networks (NBC, ABC and CBS) in Total Viewers and Key Demos; CNN Also Surpassed MSNBC in Adults 25-54 and MSNBC & FNC in Younger Viewers (18-34)

Night Four of the Republican National Convention (RNC):

CNN Topped the B’Cast Nets & MSNBC in Demos; Outperformed CBS News & MSNBC in Total Viewers

 CNN Digital Ranks #1 Throughout the Conventions; Sustained Record Traffic to ‘Facts First’ Database



Across the RNC and DNC conventions, CNN topped all the broadcast networks — NBC, ABC and CBS — in total viewers and demos (adults 25-54 and younger viewers 18-34) during the 2020 political convention cycle.  CNN also surpassed MSNBC among adults 25-54 and MSNBC and FNC in younger viewers (18-34) in the roll up of both conventions during the common coverage block hour (10-11pm).


Adults 25-54                           Younger Viewers (18-34)                   Total Viewers


CNN                           1.085 million                          310k                                                    3.565 million


NBC                            608k                                        113k                                                    2.078 million

ABC                            590k                                        103k                                                    2.182 million

CBS                             409k                                        119k                                                    1.648 million


MSNBC                      752k                                        160k                                                    3.734 million

FNC                            1.101 million                           249k                                                    5.123 million




On the fourth and final night of the Republican National Convention, CNN beat all the broadcast networks including NBC News, ABC News and CBS News and MSNBC in the key demo adults 25-54 and 18-34. CNN also topped MSNBC and CBS News in both the demos and total viewers.


10pm Hour:  Broadcast and Cable News coverage / President Donald Trump

CNN:  757k among adults 25-54, 266k in 18-34 and 2.18 million total viewers (10-11:45pm)

MSNBC: 391k adults 25-54/116k in 18-34/1.85 million total viewers (10-11:45pm)

FNC: 2.16 million among adults 25-54/494k in 18-34/9.18 million total viewers (10-11:45pm)

NBC News:  722k among adults 25-54/120k in18-34/2.28 million total viewers (10-11:42pm) – lead in Law and Order SVU (r)

ABC News: 725k adults 25-54/99k in 18-34/2.58 million total viewers (10-11:43pm) – lead in To Tell the Truth (r)

CBS News: 460k among adults 25-54/149k in 18-34/1.78 million total viewers (10-11:42pm) – lead in Love Island


8:30-11:00pm Hours:  RNC Program Cable News Coverage

CNN attracted 597k among adults 25-54 and 207k in 18-34.  In total viewers, CNN attracted 1.92 million.

MSNBC had 380k among adults 25-54 and 101k among 18-34.  In total viewers, MSNBC posted 1.89 million.

FNC averaged 1.79 million among adults 25-54 and 429k in 18-34. In total viewers, the network had 8.181 million.


CNN Digital

CNN was the #1 digital news source throughout both convention weeks, ranking #1 every day of the DNC and for each of the first 3 days of the RNC, all by wide margins. On Day 2 and 3 of the 2020 RNC, CNN outranked all competitors and surpassed #2 BBC by 9 million visits on Day 2 and 15 million visits on Day 3 and surpassed #3 Fox News by 11 million visits on Day 2 and 16 million visits on Day 3. (Day 2 and Day 3 data is the most current available for digital competitive rankings, which is published by SimilarWeb. RNC Day 1’s #1 ranking data and data for the week of the DNC was released previously). 

CNN Digital saw 39 million unique visitors and 19 million video starts across its desktop, mobile and OTT devices on Day 4 of the 2020 Republican National Convention, which included high interest in coverage of Hurricane Laura and the Kenosha, WI shooting of Jacob Blake. Digital multiplatform unique visitors are up 61% versus Day 4 of the 2016 RNC.

The final day of the Republican National Convention delivered another day of record traffic to CNN Digital’s Facts First database with unique visitors up 4x versus the daily average since it launched on May 26. Top search terms on Day 4 of the RNC included searches around key figures like Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and Rudy Giuliani, and issues like abortion, Covid-19, and taxes.

CNN’s live stream saw 1.1M total day live starts and 304k 8:30-11:53pm convention live starts on CNN’s owned platforms (,, CNNgo on OTT apps & CNN mobile apps for iOS and Android; CNN’s convention coverage was not live streamed on social properties). The live stream peaked at 55k during President Trump’s acceptance speech at 10:40p.m, which was the highest peak for the RNC. Earlier in the day, concurrent streams reached 40k at 9:40a.m. during coverage of the damage from Hurricane Laura.

CNN saw 35k users live stream the average minute of the convention programming from 8:30-11pm (equivalent to the way TV ratings are calculated). TV plus digital live streaming produced a combined average audience of 1.950 million total viewers. Digital viewing added a 1.8% lift to CNN TV P2+ average audience for RNC Day 4.

The audio of the convention also streamed on CNN’s channels on SiriusXM, and TuneIn Radio.