MSNBC continued as the number two cable news network in the first quarter of 2013, second only to Fox News in both Total Day and primetime. But like the competition, MSNBC is down across the board compared to the year-ago quarter.
The ratings for Q1 2013 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):
- Primetime (Mon-Sun): 755,000 Total Viewers / 225,000 A25-54
- Total Day (Mon-Sun): 431,000 Total Viewers / 141,000 A25-54
In Total Day, MSNBC leads CNN by just +29,000 Total Viewers and +19,000 A25-54 viewers. In primetime, MSNBC’s lead gets slightly wider: +165,000 Total Viewers and +51,000 A25-54 viewers.
Compared to the Q1 2012, MSNBC was down -6% in Total Viewers and down -1% in A25-54 viewers in Total Day. In primetime, the network was down -8% and -4%, respectively. Ratings for the cable news networks got a boost in Q1 2012 from debates and primaries during the Presidential election cycle.
It was a mixed bag for the network in primetime compared to the year-ago quarter. Ed Schultz’s program, which is moving to weekends this month, was down -11% in Total Viewers and -4% in the demo. (Note: percentages are based on a blend of Live +7 and Live +3 data.) “The Rachel Maddow Show” was down -3% in Total Viewers but up +5% in A25-54 viewers, while “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” was up +2% and flat, respectively.
MSNBC grew among younger viewers in its late afternoon programming: “The Cycle” was up +13%, Martin Bashir’s program was up +41% and “Hardball with Chris Matthews” was up +17% compared to Q1 2012.
For the month of March, MSNBC was down -19% in Total Viewers and -18% in the demo compared to the same month last year in Total Day. In primetime, the network was down -19% in Total Viewers and -18% in the A25-54 demographic.