MSNBC president Phil Griffin, in a letter to the network’s staff, conceded 2014 was a rough year, for cable news in general, and “especially for MSNBC.”
MSNBC held on to second place over CNN among total viewers in prime, but lost in the demo to CNN for the first time since 2008.
The ratings for 2014 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):
- Primetime (Mon-Sun): 589,000 total viewers / 169,000 A25-54
- Total Day (Mon-Sun): 347,000 total viewers / 108,000 A25-54
While Rachel Maddow posted both demo and total viewer wins over CNN, Maddow’s ratings in the demo were down -18% — their lowest since the show’s launch.
Meanwhile, “Hardball” fell behind CNN’s Erin Burnett in the demo, Chris Hayes lost in the demo to CNN’s Anderson Cooper, and “Last Word” trailed CNN at 10pmET (Programming has varied for CNN, with “CNN Tonight” the most often aired program in the timeslot).
Compared to 2013, when MSNBC was down -29% in prime (total viewers and demo), MSNBC’s drop in prime was smaller, down -17% in prime among viewers 25-54 (and down 18% in the demo for total day), but still the biggest drop among the cable networks.
Several shows saw significant individual declines, including “Morning Joe,” which was down -26% in the demo, while CNN’s “New Day” grew among total viewers and posted a second-place finish over MSNBC in the demo.