January 2011 Ratings: CNN Second in Daytime, Struggling in Prime

By Chris Ariens Comment

CNN saw an uptick in viewers in primetime this month, compared to the final three months of 2010. Still the network continued to see a decline in both total day and primetime viewing year-over-year.

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 670K Total Viewers / 197K A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 427K Total Viewers / 130K A25-54

In total day viewing, the network is down -26% in Total Viewers and down -27% in younger viewers (Monday-Sunday) compared to January 2010. In primetime (8-11pm, Monday-Friday) CNN is down -21% in total viewers and down -24% in A25-54 viewers. Last January, the cable news channels saw a lift from coverage of the earthquake in Haiti.

CNN topped MSNBC during daytime (9am-5pm) in both Total Viewers (456k vs. 325k) and the A25-54 demo (123k vs. 75k). CNN’s primetime, with new entrant Piers Morgan, grew compared to Q4 2010, +10% among Total viewers (697k vs. 631k) and +10% in younger viewers (204k vs. 186k).


Piers Morgan Tonight Off to a Strong Start; Parker Spitzer Gaining Ground Post Olbermann

105 Million People Viewed CNN in January; 15 Million More than Fox News

CNN.com Traffic Spikes in January 2011

In January, CNN’s M-F primetime grew compared to the network’s 4th quarter average, increasing 10% among total viewers (697k vs. 631k) and 10% in the key demographic adults 25-54 (204k vs. 186k).

Launch-to-date (January 17-28) Piers Morgan Tonight at 9p is off to a strong start, averaging 978k total viewers and 279k in the demographic adults 25-54. This represents a 50% increase compared to CNN’s 9p 4th quarter average among total viewers (654k) and 65% more in adults 25-54 (169k). PMT topped MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow show since launch among younger 18-49 viewers (217k vs. 198k).

Since Keith Olbermann left MSNBC, Parker Spitzer has gained ground, increasing +54% in the key demo 25-54 (163k vs. 106k), while MSNBC’s Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell dropped -21% vs. the prior week (232k vs. 292k) – omitting Tuesday’s State of the Union coverage.

In January, CNN topped MSNBC during the daytime (9am-5pm) in both total viewers and the key demo 25-54. In head-to-head comparisons with MSNBC’s daytime non-opinion programming, CNN had a 40% advantage among total viewers (456k vs. 325k) and a 64% lead among adults 25-54 (123k vs. 75k). MSNBC placed fourth every hour during the daytime in the demo 25-54, except at 4pm where they placed third behind CNN Newsroom.

Also in January, State of the Union with Candy Crowley at noon had its best month ever among total viewers (717k). CNN’s Sunday show line up topped MSNBC in both total viewers and in the demo from 10a–2p (Fareed Zakaria GPS, Reliable Sources and State of the Union with Candy Crowley).

CNN reached a cumulative audience of 105 million viewers in January, FNC lagged behind with 90 million, and MSNBC averaged had 87 million.

(Of note: Data comparisons to a year ago (January 2010) were not used due to last’s years highly elevated news cycle resulting from the Haiti earthquake and its aftermath.)