CNN just wrapped up its most-watched first quarter in 14 years, since the run-up to the Iraq War in 2003. The network was up +12 percent in Total Day viewers, and up +22 percent in the demo vs. Q1 2016.
But while MSNBC and Fox News saw prime time growth, CNN was down this past quarter. But that may have more to do with the fact that during the same 3-month period in 2016, CNN televised 12 prime time political events.
It was the No. 2 cable news network in the key A25-54 demo, behind Fox News and ahead of MSNBC.
Here are CNN’s final live + same day impressions from Q1 2017
- Prime time (Mon-Sun): 1,180,000 total viewers / 405,000 A25-54
- Total Day (Mon-Sun): 823,000 total viewers / 265,000 A25-54
In the heated morning ratings race, CNN’s New Day beat MSNBC’s Morning Joe for the second straight quarter among total viewers, and for the 8th time in the last 11 quarters among adults 25-54.
Jake Tapper, Erin Burnett, Anderson Cooper, (at 8 p.m.) and Don Lemon all had record viewership in both the A25-54 demo and total viewers for the quarter. Despite the very busy first few months of covering the Trump administration, CNN’s Original Series are also seeing solid viewership. CNN’s Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery and Believer with Reza Aslan are winning their Sunday night timeslots in the demo.
Here’s the network’s release:
CNN HAS MOST-WATCHED FIRST QUARTER SINCE 2003
Strong #2 in Cable News in Total Day, Dayside and Prime Time Demo
Tops MSNBC for 12 Straight Quarters
CNN Beats MSNBC 23 Out of 24 Hours in Demo
New Day Tops Morning Joe for Second Straight Quarter;
State of the Union with Jake Tapper and Fareed Zakaria GPS Rank #1 in Demo
CNN had its most-watched first quarter in 14 years (since 1Q 2003) among both adults 25-54 and total viewers. Among all quarters, the network posted its second highest quarterly ratings in total day (25-54 and total viewers) and 3rd highest in prime time (25-54) since 4Q 2008.
For the quarter that ended on Sunday (January-March), CNN ranked #2 in cable news, with all key programs posting record ratings and growing double digits compared to a year ago. CNN topped MSNBC in total day (25-54, total viewers) and in prime time (adults 25-54) for the 12th straight quarter, the longest quarterly streak in more than eight years (since 4Q 2008).
CNN beat MSNBC this quarter in every hour among 25-54 (except M-F 9pm). In fact, CNN weekday programming at 9pm grew an impressive +67% in the demo and +52% in total viewers compared to last year and is having its highest delivery during that time period since 4Q 2008. Posting record ratings, CNN’s New Day beat MSNBC’s Morning Joe for the second straight quarter and for the 8th time in the last 11 quarters among adults 25-54.
Among ALL cable networks, CNN ranked #8 in total viewers (total day) and #9 in total viewers (M-F prime time). This marks the third straight quarter and longest quarterly streak in over 21 years (4Q 1995) that CNN is a Top 10 Cable network in both dayparts among total viewers.
(For context when comparing to a year ago (2016) – the network had 13 CNN-specific Debates and Town Halls that drew record high viewership. That list is below.)
CNN First Quarter 2017 Program Highlights:
• Early Start (4a-6a) ranks #2 among cable news and is having its highest quarterly delivery on record in the demo 25-54 and in total viewers. The program is up double digits in both the demo (+46%) and in total viewers (+31%) vs. first quarter last year.
• New Day with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota (6-9am) is having its highest quarterly delivery on record in the demo 25-54 and second highest among total viewers. New Day beat MSNBC’s Morning Joe for the second straight quarter in the key demo 25-54 (205k vs. 183k), posting its biggest quarterly advantage (+12%) over Joe since 2Q 2015. The program grew double digits from last year, up +50% in the demo and +27% in total viewers. CNN is posting its largest quarterly 25-54 share (23%) of the cable news morning audience since 4Q 2008.
• CNN dayside programming (9am-4pm) had its highest 25-54 delivery since 4Q 2008 and highest total viewers level since 1Q 2003. All dayside shows ranked #2 this quarter among P25-54, with CNN posting a significant advantage over MSNBC (+72%) in the daypart among adults 25-54 (253k vs. 147k) and +22% more among total viewers (896k vs. MSNBC’s 737k). CNN dayside also grew vs. a year ago, increasing +51% in the demo and +30% among total viewers. CNN dayside programming has beat MSNBC for the 18th straight quarter in 25-54 and 17th consecutive quarter among total viewers.
• The Lead with Jake Tapper (4pm) posted its highest quarterly performance on record in both 25-54 and total viewers. The Tapper-led program topped MSNBC in both the demo 25-54 (289k vs. 149k) and total viewers (1.100m vs. MSNBC’s 769k). The Lead is up +56% in the demo compared to the first quarter last year, showing the most growth in cable news in the time period. The program was also up +39% in total viewers compared to the first quarter last year.
• The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (5-7pm) also had a very strong quarter, easily topping MSNBC in both the demo (321k vs. 184k) and total viewers (1.098m vs. 909k) The Blitzer-led program grew compared to last year (+43% demo; +33% total viewers) and had the second highest delivery since launching in 3Q 2005 in both the demo and in total viewers.
• CNN outperformed MSNBC among 25-54 in the M-F 7p hour for the 11th straight quarter, and in the M-F 8p and 10p hours for the straight 12th quarter.
• Erin Burnett Outfront (7pm) is having its highest quarterly delivery on record in both the demo and total viewers. For the 11th straight quarter, Outfront beat MSNBC’s Hardball in the demo (367k vs. 288k). EBOF also grew double digits from 1Q 2016; up +45% in the demo and +30% in total viewers.
• Anderson Cooper 360 (8pm) is having its highest quarterly performance on record since launching in the 8p hour in the demo and among total viewers, and easily topped MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes in the demo (452k vs. 345k). CNN has now topped MSNBC for the 12th straight quarter in the demo. Compared to last year, AC 360 was up +35% among adults 25-54 and +19% in total viewers.
• CNN programming at 9pm (mostly Anderson Cooper) is up double digits vs. last year, increasing +67% in the demo and +52% in total viewers and is having its highest delivery during that time period since 4Q 2008 (both in the demo and total viewers).
• CNN Tonight with Don Lemon (10pm) is having its best quarterly performance on record in both the demo 25-54 and total viewers. Topping MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Connell, the Lemon-led program has now had its 12th consecutive quarterly win over MSNBC in the demo (422k vs. 402k). CNN Tonight grew +62% in the demo 25-54 and +52% in total viewers vs. first quarter last year.
• New Day Saturday ranked #2 each hour, growing double digits in both the demo and total viewers. MSNBC ranked either 3rd or 4th.
• Smerconish ranked #2 on Saturday mornings at 9am, increasing +50% in the demo (286k) and +23% in total viewers (933k) compared to last year. Smerconish at 6pm ranked #1 in the demo 25-54 (294k) and was up an impressive +97% in the demo and +51% in total viewers.
• CNN Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield ranked #2 in cable news from 11am-3pm this quarter among adults 25-54 growing double digits each hour compared to a year ago. MSNBC ranked #3.
• CNN Newsroom ranked #1 during the 3pm hour in the demo 25-54 and #2 throughout the 4-6pm hours in both the demo and total viewers. The program also grew double digits in the demo vs. last year.
• Inside Politics with John King ranked #2 on Sundays at 8am easily topping MSNBC in the demo (252k vs. 91k) and total viewers (818k vs. 415k). The program was also up double digits (+29%/+19%) versus first quarter a year ago.
• State of the Union with Jake Tapper at 9am ranked #2 on Sundays at 9am, more than doubling MSNBC in the demo (314k vs. 121k) and topping MSNBC in total viewers (967k vs. 508k). The program posted the most growth in cable news in the time period in the demo, up +40% and grew in total viewers +22%. SOTU ranked #1 at noon in the key demo 25-54 this quarter, averaging 335k, up +48%. The Tapper-led program ranked #2 in total viewers (1.138m) at noon, increasing +21% compared to first quarter last year.
• Fareed Zakaria GPS (10am) ranked #2 among adults 25-54 (317k, up +42%) and total viewers (1.156m, up +35%). At 1pm, GPS was #1 in the demo, averaging 295k, up +57% from last year. The program was #2 in total viewers (1.069m), growing +34% from Q1 last year.
• Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter ranked #2 in cable news this quarter at 11am, increasing +53% in the demo 25-54 (329k) and +32% in total viewers (1.067m).
CNN First Quarter 2017 Original Series and CNN Films Highlights:
• CNN’s Finding Jesus: Faith, Fact, Forgery Season 2-to-date (3/5-3/26/17) and Believer with Reza Aslan Season 1-to-date (3/5-3/26/17): rank #1 among adults 25-54 across cable news in their time periods (Sunday 9pm, 10pm respectively).
• Over its three Thursday premiere episodes, The History of Comedy ranked #2 in cable news in its time period, topping MSNBC’s Last Word by +35% in the demo 25-54. (HOC will return this summer on Sunday nights.)
• CNN Films: Now More Than Ever: The History of Chicago Premiere (Sun 1/1/17, 8p-10p): ranked #1 across cable news in its time period among both adults 25-54 and total viewers.
• CNN Films: The End: Inside the Last Days of the Obama White House Premiere (Wed 1/18/17, 9p-11p): Among all 26 CNN Films (excluding CNN Films Presents) premieres to-date, ranks #3 in 25-54 and #4 in total viewers. Among all 33 CNN Films and CNN Films Presents premieres to-date, ranks #5 in 25-54.
Last Year’s Thirteen First Quarter CNN-specific Debates and Town Halls:
CNN Guns in America Obama Town Hall; CNN Iowa Dem. Town Hall. (2)
CNN NH Dem. Town Hall; PBS/CNN Wisconsin Dem Primary Debate; CNN SC GOP Town Hall (2 nights); CNN SC Dem. Town Hall; CNN/Telemundo Houston GOP Primary Debate. (6)
CNN Michigan Dem. Primary Debate; Univision/CNN Florida Dem Primary Debate; CNN Florida GOP Primary Debate; CNN Ohio Dem. Town Hall; CNN Election Special The Final Five Candidates. (5)
End of Month March 2017:
• CNN ranks #7 in total day and #9 in M-F prime time among total viewers in ALL of cable (second straight month as a Top 10 cable net).
• Tops MSNBC in total day demo 25-54 for the 33rd straight month (270k vs. 214k).
• Tops MSNBC dayside (9am-4pm) for the 37th straight month among adults 25-54 (254k vs. 167k) and the 53rd consecutive month in total viewers (904k vs. 841k).
• CNN placed #2 in March in M-Su prime time with 409k, tying with MSNBC (Live+SD)
• New Day beats Morning Joe among adults 25-54 (230k vs. 218k) for the third straight month (4 out of 5 months). This is New Day’s longest consecutive month lead over Morning Joe since September 2015 among adults 25-54. New Day grows +31% vs. last year (demo).
• Weekday mornings (6-9am) CNN is registering its third highest demo delivery since November 2008.
• The Lead with Jake Tapper beats MSNBC in the demo 25-54 (298k vs. 176k) and total viewers (1.149mm vs. 915k); up +27%/+20% respectively vs. last year.
• In the M-F 4p hour, CNN posted its third highest performance among adults 25-54 and total viewers since January 2009.
• The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (5-7pm) easily topped MSNBC for the month in both the demo (325k vs. 203k) and total viewers (1.143m vs. 1.038m) The Blitzer-led program also had double digit growth vs. year ago.
• Erin Burnett Outfront beats MSNBC’s Chris Matthews (361k vs. 333k) for the 33rd straight month in adults 25-54. This is CNN’s longest monthly streak on record vs. MSNBC in the M-F 7p hour among adults 25-54.
• AC 360 tops MSNBC’s Chris Hayes (447k vs. 407k) for the 33rd straight month in the demo. This is CNN’s longest monthly streak since January 2006 vs. MSNBC in the M-F 8p hour among adults 25-54.
• Smerconish ranked #2 in cable news at 9am in the demo and total viewers. Smerconish at 6p ranked #1 in the demo and #2 in total viewers on Saturdays.
• State of the Union with Jake Tapper ranked #2 at 9am (up +5%) and #1 at noon in the demo.
• Fareed Zakaria GPS ranked #2 at 10am and 1pm in the demo and total viewers.
• Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter was #2 in cable news at 11am in both the demo and total viewers, and grew +20%/+14% respectively.
• For context, if comparing to last year, please note that CNN had 5 highly rated debates and town halls in March 2016.