April Ratings: CNN’s Best Total Day Since ’03

By SteveK Comment

Despite finishing fourth in cable’s most crucial time period and measurement (8p-11p, A25-54 demo), CNN grew 25% in Total Viewers and 17% in the A25-54 demo during April ’09 compared to April ’08. It finished second in Total Viewers and the demo in total day, behind FNC.

CNN’s American Morning topped MSNBC’s Morning Joe in Total Viewers and the demo. The CNN morning show is up in both categories month-to-month. Larry King Live and Anderson Cooper 360 finished second in Total Viewers, ahead of MSNBC.

Click continued to see CNN’s release (which includes HLN notes as well)…


CNN continued to grow its audience in April compared to a year ago, increasing in total day by 25% in total viewers and 17% among 25-54. In April, CNN placed second in total viewers with 646k, an impressive 56% advantage over MSNBC’s 414k, and posted 190k in 25-54, a 30% lead over MSNBC’s 146k. This represents CNN’s best April total day performance since April 2003 among total viewers.

CNN outperformed MSNBC in primetime (M-Su) in total viewers with 917k vs. 829k. CNN and MSNBC were basically tied among total viewers in primetime (M-F) with 994k and 996k viewers respectively. In primetime at 9p (M-F), CNN’s Larry King Live tops MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow (1.136 vs. 1.045) in total viewers and at 10p, Anderson Cooper tops MSNBC (1.058 vs 721k) in total viewers, and in the key demographic 25-54 (307k vs. 229k).

In the morning, CNN’s American Morning outperformed MSNBC’s Morning Joe in both total viewers (491k vs. 395k) and in the key demographic 25-54 (171k vs. 139k). Compared to last month, American Morning grew 4% in total viewers and 2% in the demo while Morning Joe declined 9% in total viewers and was down 20% in 25-54.


HLN surpassed MSNBC every weekday hour from 7p-12midnight (except 9p) among key 25-54 viewers including a win for Nancy Grace over MSNBC’s flagship program Countdown with Keith Olbermann at both 8 and 10p.

HLN showed impressive, double-digit gains in every hour of the day (M-F) in April among both total viewers and 25-54. In M-Fri Prime, HLN posted 60% growth in 25-54 and 54% growth in total viewers over last year. The “News and Views” network achieved 46% growth in the 25-54 demo and 30% growth in total viewers in total day.

Nancy Grace topped Countdown at 8 p.m. with an average of 411k demo viewers in April 2009, a 7% advantage over the 384k mark attained by Countdown. Nancy Grace’s audience at 8p grew an impressive 103% over last year in the key demo, and 88% in total viewers – the greatest demo growth of any cable news program in prime time. Nancy Grace also outperformed Countdown among 25-54 in their same-day repeat telecasts at 10 p.m. (275k vs. 229k).

To kick off the day, Morning Express with Robin Meade posted the network’s best 25-54 morning delivery (173k) since October 2001. HLN’s flagship morning show scored 52% growth in 25-54 and 39% growth in total viewers – the most growth of any morning show in cable news and topping MSNBC’s Morning Joe. In its sixth full month on the air, Issues with Jane Velez Mitchell scored 86% growth in 25-54 and 77% in total viewers – the most growth in its time period – and beat MSNBC’s Hardball in 25-54 (227k vs. 195k).

CNN Digital Network

In the first quarter of 2009, CNN Digital Network remained the #1 News and Information category site with averaging 1.4 billion total usage minutes per month. This represents a 36% lead over MSNBC, 86% over Yahoo! News’, and more than double New York Times Online’s 701 million, and Fox News Digital’s 672 million (Source: Nielsen Online Home/Work Panel). Additionally, CNN Digital Network’s 1.4 billion average usage minutes for the first quarter was more than ten times greater than both ABC News.com (122 million total usage minutes) and CBS News.com (78.8 million total usage minutes) according to Nielsen Online.

CNN Digital was the #1 online news source for video with 356 million video streams delivered during the first quarter, 21% more than MSNBC Digital; 41% more than Yahoo! News and ahead of Fox News Digital video streams by 443% (356 million vs. 65.5 million ) according to Nielsen Video Census.

CNN Digital Network drew 38.8 million unique users, topping Fox News Digital network by 140% (38.8 million vs. 16.2 million). Additionally, CNN Digital Network outperformed other news sites including ABC News.com by 224% (38.8 million vs. 12.0 million) and CBS news.com by 257% (38.8 million. vs. 10.9 million) according to Nielsen Online.


CNN continues to reach more viewers than its competitors, attracting an overall cumulative audience of 64 million during the month of April. It was 12% ahead of FNC with 58 million and 35% ahead of MSNBC with 48 million. HLN reached 46 million individuals.