Q1 2017 Ratings: MSNBC Has Best Quarter Ever

By A.J. Katz Comment

msnbc 2016

It was a record-setting quarter for MSNBC, one which included the network’s largest total quarterly audience ever in many key dayparts, including its weekday prime time and total day. In addition, MSNBC earned a quarterly victory over CNN in total prime time viewers.

MSNBC is now the fastest growing cable news network, up +61 percent in prime time viewers and up +49 percent in the prime time demo versus the same quarter in 2016.

In Total Day, MSNBC was up +55 percent in total viewers and +40 percent in the demo.

Here are MSNBC’s ratings for Q1 of 2017:

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 1,434,000 total viewers / 337,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 776,000 total viewers / 183,000 A25-54

Rachel Maddow, the dominant voice for progressives on cable news, may be benefiting the most from the Trump administration’s first 100 days. Q1 2017 was the most-watched quarter ever for Maddow’s show. While the quarter was significant for Maddow, the month of March was even more noteworthy. Her program ranked No. 1 across cable news among adults 25-54. MSNBC had never scored a 9 p.m. monthly win over Fox News among adults 25-54 in network history until this past month. Not only was March 2017 Maddow’s best month ever from a ratings perspective, but it provided MSNBC with its best monthly audience delivery for any program in the network’s 20-year history.

Morning Joe posted its most-watched quarter ever, and the largest 6 – 9 a.m. quarterly audience in network history. Joe and Mika also capped off March 2017 by beating CNN in total viewers for the 25th straight month and posting a year-over-year total viewer gain of +43 percent.

One of the newest members of the MSNBC family, Greta Van Susteren provided the network with solid numbers in the 6 p.m. hour. For the Record delivered the time period’s best total viewer and A25-54 audiences for a quarter since Q4, 2012. While MSNBC remains behind Fox News and CNN at 6 p.m., it delivered more year-over-year audience growth than its competition: up +59 percent in total viewers, and up +74 percent in the A25-54 demo.

Here’s more in MSNBC’s release:

 MSNBC OVERTAKES CNN IN TOTAL AUDIENCE IN 1Q17, SHATTERING RATINGS RECORDS
More People Turned to MSNBC Than CNN for Total Day M-F 6am-2am for March 2017 and 1Q17
“The Rachel Maddow Show” Is #1 in A25-54 in March 2017 – Beats “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on FOX News and CNN in the 9-10pm Time Period for 1st Time in Network’s 20-Year History
“Morning Joe” Sets Record in Total Viewers for 1Q17 and Bests CNN for Eighth Consecutive Quarter
MSNBC Weekday Prime 8-11pm Tops CNN for Fourth Straight Quarter in Total Viewers
MSNBC Programs Beat CNN and Deliver All-Time Highs Among Total Viewers at 7pm, 8pm, 9pm, 10pm and 11pm for 1Q17
MSNBC Is the Fastest Growing Cable News Network in Dayside Among Total Viewers, Draws the Network’s Biggest Audience in 9am-5pm Time Period Ever for 1Q17
MSNBC Digital on Track to Have Best Month and Quarter Ever
NEW YORK (March 27, 2017) – According to Nielsen, MSNBC beat CNN in total viewers during weekday prime (M-F 8-11pm) and total day (M-F 6am-2am) for the first quarter of 2017. MSNBC also drew the network’s largest total audiences ever for the quarter in many key dayparts, including weekday prime, total day and dayside (M-F 9am-5pm).
More people turned to MSNBC during total day (M-F 6am-2am) over CNN in the first quarter of 2017. For this daypart, MSNBC was the 3rdmost-watched cable network (behind FOX News and Nickelodeon). MSNBC was the 3rdfastest growing cable network in both total and A25-54 demo audiences over 1Q16. For the month of March 2017, MSNBC total day topped CNN in total viewers for the 2ndconsecutive month and delivered the network’s best month ever.
Driven by growing momentum and some of the best reporting on the current political climate, “The Rachel Maddow Show” at 9pm finished March 2017 as the #1 cable news show in the key A25-54 demo in the M-F 9-10pm time period. This marks the first time MSNBC has been #1 in the A25-54 demo during that time period ever, and the first time in almost five years since MSNBC beat FOX News in the demo in any hour for the month (previous was “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” in December 2012). “The Rachel Maddow Show” and MSNBC had its best total viewer delivery in the time period ever in the show’s eight-and-a-half years or network’s 20-year history and the best A25-54 delivery since November 2008. “The Rachel Maddow Show’s” total audience was up +106% over March 2016, while CNN was flat (+3%) and FOX News was up +11%. In the A25-54 demo, “The Rachel Maddow Show” grew +103% year-over-year, besting CNN (+14%) – attaining its biggest lead over CNN since February 2014 – and FOX News (+18%). For the first quarter of 2017, “The Rachel Maddow Show” beat CNN in both total viewers and A25-54. The show delivered its best total viewer delivery ever and best A25-54 delivery in the time period since 4Q08.
“Morning Joe” at 6am ranked #2 among all cable networks in the time period for total viewers, continuing its winning streak over CNN’s “New Day” (ranked #7) for the 8thstraight quarter. “Morning Joe” delivered its best quarter ever and posted the biggest total viewer audience in the 6-9am time period in MSNBC’s history. “Morning Joe” also capped off March 2017 beating CNN for the 25thstraight month and posting a gain of +43% in total viewers (vs. CNN’s +9%) – its biggest lead over CNN.
MSNBC’s weekday primetime programming (M-F 8-11pm) in 1Q17 topped CNN in total viewers for the 4thstraight quarter and delivered its largest A25-54 demo audience in five years (since 4Q12). MSNBC prime’s year-to-year growth more than quadrupled its competition in total viewers (+68% vs. CNN’s -18% and FOX News’ +16%) and more than tripled the growth of its competition in A25-54 demo (+54% vs. CNN’s -12% and FOX News’ +15%) compared to 1Q16. MSNBC prime was the 3rdmost-watched network in all of cable for the quarter in total viewers, behind only FOX News and ESPN. MSNBC is the 2ndfastest-growing cable network in weekday prime for both total and demo audiences (behind MLB Network) – the largest absolute gain of any cable network over 1Q16 for both demos.
Three more MSNBC programs each beat CNN among total viewers and also delivered their respective time period’s largest total audiences ever for the quarter: “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7pm, “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm and “The 11thHour with Brian Williams” at 11pm. “Hardball” topped CNN in total viewers for the 15thstraight quarter and posted the best total viewer average in the hour ever and its best demo average in five years (since 4Q12). “All In” delivered the network’s largest audience for the time period in nine years (since 4Q08) and best A25-54 delivery in five years (since 4Q12). “The Last Word” delivered MSNBC’s best total viewer delivery in the hour ever and best A25-54 delivery (since 4Q12). “The 11thHour” topped CNN for the 3rdstraight quarter and soared over its competition in total viewer growth (+144% vs. CNN’s +47% and FOX News’ +12%) and in A25-54 (+109% vs. CNN’s +53% and FOX News’ +5%) – delivering the best demo audience in the time period in 16 years (since 4Q01). “The Last Word” and “The 11thHour” also bested CNN in the A25-54 demo in March 2017.
Propelled by MSNBC’s unique ability to draw on the talent and resources of NBC News and its revamped breaking news strategy during the day, MSNBC dayside (M-F 9am-5pm) drew MSNBC’s biggest total viewer audience ever, becoming the fastest growing cable news network and 2ndfastest growing cable network at 9am-5pm for the quarter (after Oxygen). Dayside has delivered seven straight quarters of growth and posted higher rating gains than the competition (+59% vs. CNN’s +30% and FOX News’ +34%) in 1Q17 over 1Q16. For the month, MSNBC dayside delivered the network’s best total viewer delivery ever in the time period. Dayside was up +57% over March 2016, the closest to CNN since February 2014.
In March 2017 to-date, MSNBC.com, its mobile app and OTT platforms have had more video starts than ever before and are on track to have their best month and quarter ever. (Omniture)
NOTE: 1Q17 ratings are based on Nielsen Live+Same data for 12/26/16-3/23/17.
1Q 2017 PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
TOTAL DAY (M-F 6am-2am)
• MSNBC topped CNN in total viewers during the M-F 6am-2am time period.
• Among all cable networks, MSNBC ranked #3 (behind only FOX News and Nickelodeon) in the 6am-2am time period in total viewers.
• MSNBC is the 3rd fastest growing cable network in total viewers (behind MLB Network and Oxygen) and A25-54 demo (behind MLB Network and TV Land) during the time period.
• Total day marked the 7th straight quarter of growth in total viewers.
MORNING JOE (M-F 6-9am)
• “Morning Joe” ranked #2 among all cable networks in the time period for total viewers, continuing its winning streak over CNN’s “New Day” (ranked #6) for the 8th straight quarter.
• “Morning Joe” delivered its best total viewer audience for MSNBC in the 6-9am time period. “Morning Joe” was up +35% in total viewers and up +20% in the A25-54 demo over 1Q16.
• “Morning Joe” averaged 790,000 total viewers (ahead of CNN’s 581,000) and 181,000 viewers A25-54.
DAYSIDE (M-F 9am-5pm)
• MSNBC dayside drew the network’s biggest total viewer audience ever, and was the second fastest growing cable network at 9am-5pm for the quarter (after only Oxygen).
• Dayside has delivered seven straight quarters of growth. Its year-to-year growth continues to top the competition, posting gains of +59% in total viewers (vs. +30% for CNN and +34% for FOX) over 1Q16.
• Among all of cable networks in the 9am-5pm time period, MSNBC ranked #5, up from #10 in 1Q16.
• “Andrea Mitchell Reports” (12-1pm) was up +58% in total viewers (vs. CNN’s +30% and FOX News’ +31%) and up +44% in A25-54 demo (vs. FOX News’ +37%) over 1Q16. It was also the program’s best total viewer delivery in the hour ever for the quarter.
EARLY EVENING (M-F 5-8pm)
• “MTP Daily with Chuck Todd” (5-6pm), posted the 5pm time period’s best total viewer average in nearly five years (since 4Q12) and delivered more growth in A25-54 than the competition (+59% vs. CNN’s +44% and FOX News’ +44%).
• “For the Record with Greta” (6-7pm), delivered the 6pm time period’s best total viewer and A25-54 audiences (since 4Q12). The program also posted more growth than the competition in total viewers (+59% vs. CNN’s +31% and FOX News’ +26%) and A25-54 demo (+74% vs. CNN’s +41% and FOX News’ +39%).
• “Hardball with Chris Matthews” (7-8pm) topped CNN in total viewers for the 15th straight quarter. 1Q17 marks “Hardball’s” best total viewer average ever, posting a gain of +47% (vs. CNN’s +30% and FOX News’ +30%) in total viewers over 1Q16. “Hardball” posted the hour’s best demo average since 4Q12, up +57% (vs. CNN’s +45% and FOX News’ +53%) in A25-54 over 1Q16.
WEEKDAY PRIME (M-F 8-11pm)
• MSNBC beat CNN in total viewers for the 4th straight quarter and delivered its largest A25-54 demo audience in five years (since 4Q12).
• MSNBC prime’s year-to-year growth was more than its competition in total viewers (+68% vs. CNN’s -18% and FOX News’ +16%) and more than tripled the growth of its competition in A25-54 demo (+54% vs. CNN’s -12% and FOX News’ +15%) compared to 1Q16. This is MSNBC prime’s 7th straight quarter of growth in total viewers and the 3rd straight quarter of growth in the demo.
• MSNBC prime was the 3rd most-watched network in all of cable for the quarter, behind only FOX News and ESPN. MSNBC is the second fastest-growing cable network in weekday prime for both total and demo audiences (behind MLB Network) – the largest absolute gain of any cable network over 1Q16.
• MSNBC prime averaged 1.83 million total viewers (ahead of CNN’s 1.31 million) and 415,000 viewers A25-54.
• “All In with Chris Hayes” (8-9pm) delivered the network’s largest total viewer average for the time period in nine years (since 4Q08) and best A25-54 average in five years (since 4Q12).
• Compared to 1Q16, “All In” more than doubled the growth of its competition in total viewers (+71% vs. CNN’s +18% and FOX News’ +19%) and the A25-54 demo (+69% vs. CNN’s +35% and FOX News’ +30%).
• “The Rachel Maddow Show” (9-10pm) ranked #2 in both total viewers and the demo, beating CNN in the demo. The show also bested CNN in total viewers for the 30th straight quarter in 1Q17.
• “The Rachel Maddow Show” delivered its biggest total viewer audience ever and biggest demo audience since 4Q08.
• Compared to 1Q16, “The Rachel Maddow Show” is up +91% in total viewers (vs. +51% for CNN and +29% for FOX News) and up +87% in the demo (vs. +68% for CNN and +53% for FOX News).
• “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” (10-11pm) delivered MSNBC’s best total viewer average in the hour ever and best A25-54 average since 4Q08.
• “The Last Word” posted more growth than CNN and FOX News in total viewers (+92% vs. CNN’s +52% and FOX News’ +44%) and the A25-54 demo (+78% vs. CNN’s +63% and FOX News’ +49%) over 1Q16.
THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS (M-Th 11-11:30pm)
• “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” ranked #2 in the half hour ahead of CNN among total viewers for the third straight quarter.
• “The 11th Hour” delivered the network’s largest total audience in the time period ever and soared over the competition in total viewer growth (+144% vs. CNN’s +47% and FOX News’ +12%) over 1Q16. “The 11th Hour” also bested the competition in growth in the A25-54 demo (+109% vs. CNN’s +53% and FOX News’ +5%), delivering the best A25-54 audience in the time period in 16 years (since 4Q01).
AM JOY (Sa-Su 10am-12pm)
• Saturday editions of “AM Joy” marked the time period’s best total viewer average ever and best A25-54 average since 4Q08. “AM Joy’s” growth topped the competition in total viewers (+102% vs. CNN’s +14% and FOX News’ +26%) and in A25-54 (+76% vs. CNN’s +36% and FOX News’ +42%) over 1Q16.
• Sunday editions also marked the time period’s best total viewer average ever and best A25-54 average in 14 years (since 1Q03). The program posted more growth over its competition in total viewers (+111% vs. CNN’s +35% and FOX News’ +31%) and in A25-54 (+86% vs. CNN’s +50% and FOX News’ +37%) over 1Q16.
March to-date ratings are based on Nielsen Live+Same data day for 2/27/17-3/23/17. Individual show data represents regular programming only, excluding election night, specials and breaking news.
MARCH 2017 HIGHLIGHTS
• MSNBC total day (M-F 6am-2am) topped CNN in total viewers during the time period and delivered its best month ever.
• Among all cable networks, MSNBC finished second (ahead of fourth-place CNN) in total viewers in the time period and was the 3rd fastest growing cable network (behind only MLB Network and Oxygen). MSNBC total day posted its best A25-54 delivery since October 2016 and was also the 3rd fastest growing cable network (behind MLB Network and TV Land) in the time period, the largest gain of any cable network compared to March 2016.
• MSNBC weekday prime (M-F 8-11pm) ranked #2 ahead of CNN in total viewers and in A25-54, marking prime’s 4th straight month over CNN in total viewers.
• MSNBC weekday prime was the only cable news network to grow in the time period in both total viewers (+78% vs. CNN’s -37% and FOX News’ -6%) and A25-54 (+62% vs. CNN’s -33% and FOX News’ -15%). MSNBC weekday prime ranked #2 among all cable networks in total viewers and #6 in the A25-54 demo for the time period. This is MSNBC’s best month ever in prime for total viewers. In the A25-54 demo, this is MSNBC’s best month in five years (since November 2012) and the first win over CNN (since August 2016).
• MSNBC weekday prime averaged 2.21 million total viewers (ahead of CNN’s 1.32 million) and 517,000 viewers A25-54 (ahead of CNN’s 466,000).
• “Morning Joe” (6-9am) beat CNN for the 25th straight month in total viewers and posted its best monthly rating ever (938,000). “Morning Joe” ranked #2 among all cable networks in the time period overall and was up +44% (vs. CNN’s +9% and FOX News’ +30%) over March 2016 – its biggest lead over CNN ever. In A25-54, “Morning Joe” was up +23% over March 2016 and posted the show’s highest monthly rating since October 2016.
• MSNBC dayside (9am-5pm) delivered its best total viewer delivery ever and best A25-54 delivery in the time period (since October 2016). Dayside was up +57% among total viewers over March 2016, the closest to CNN since February 2014. Dayside ranked #4 in total viewers among all of cable networks in the time period, up from #8 in March 2016.
• “Hardball with Chris Matthews” (7-8pm) beat CNN among total viewers for the 8th straight month and posted the program’s best total viewer delivery ever and best demo delivery since November 2012.
• “All In With Chris Hayes” (8-9pm) beat CNN among total viewers for the 4th straight month and delivered the hour’s biggest total viewership since November 2008 and demo audience since November 2012.
• “The Rachel Maddow Show” (9-10pm) was the #1 cable news show in the key A25-54 demo in the M-F 9-10pm time period. This marks the first time MSNBC was #1 in the A25-54 demo during that time period ever, and the first time in almost five years since MSNBC beat FOX News in the demo in any hour for the month (previous was “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” in December 2012).
• This is MSNBC’s best total viewer delivery in the time period ever in the network’s 20-year history and the best A25-54 delivery (since November 2008).
• “The Rachel Maddow Show’s” total audience was up +106% over March 2016 (vs. CNN’s +3% and FOX News’ +11%) – its biggest lead ever over CNN. In the A25-54 demo, “The Rachel Maddow Show” grew +103% year-over-year, (vs. CNN’s +14% and FOX News’ +18%) – its biggest lead over CNN since November 2012.
• “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” (10-11pm) beat CNN among total viewers for the 22nd straight month and in the A25-54 demo. This was “The Last Word’s” largest audience and share in total viewers ever and the best demo delivery since October 2008.
• “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” (11-11:30pm) finished March 2017 as the #2 cable news show in the time period, beating CNN in total viewers for the 8th straight month.
• “The 11th Hour” was up +138% in total viewers and +117% in the demo vs. March 2016, outpacing CNN (+25% in total viewers and +23% in the demo) and FOX News (-25% in total viewers and -37% in the demo). This is the program’s best total viewer delivery in the half hour period ever and the best A25-54 delivery in the time period since April 2003.
• Saturday editions of “AM Joy” (10am-12pm) beat CNN in total viewers and was the only cable news show in the time period to post a gain in total viewers (+96% vs. CNN’s -3% and FOX News’ -5%) over March 2016. In the A25-54 demo, “AM Joy” posted more growth than its competition (+93% vs. CNN’s +3% and FOX News’ +4%).
• For its Sunday editions, “AM Joy’s” growth surged over the competition in total viewers (+115% vs. CNN’s +16% and FOX News’ +10%) and in the demo (+88% vs. CNN’s +13% and FOX News’ +8%) over March 2016.
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