2008 Ratings: CNN Wins Demo At 5pm and 10pmET

By SteveK 

CNN had averaged a higher Total Viewer and A25-54 demo rating during 2008 in prime time than any other year in its history.

It also topped FNC at 5pmET (The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer) and at 10pmET (Anderson Cooper 360) in the demo.

On HLN, Nancy Grace had her best ratings ever at 8 and 10pmET.

Click continued for more from CNN’s 2008 ratings release…

Related: The Los Angeles Times’ Matea Gold talks with CNN/U.S. president Jon Klein about the network’s strong year and big Election Night win: “I think we established very clearly that CNN is the network to watch for reliable information.”

CNN had a tremendously successful and transformational year in 2008. Anderson Cooper 360 has topped Fox News at 10 pm and is the #1 cable news program in the key demographic adults 25-54; the network posted its highest primetime ratings in history in both total viewers and the key demographic (adults 25-54) despite growing competition, and CNN outperformed the broadcast networks on key election nights. Additionally, the CNN Digital Network dominated the online news space throughout the year, ranking #1 in the News and Information category in both Total Minutes and Page Views in 2008.

In 2008, (year-to-date 12/31/07-12/21/08 vs. the same time a year ago), CNN more than doubled the P25-54 primetime growth of FNC – with CNN increasing 87%; MSNBC grew 83%; while FNC was only up 42%. CNN also narrowed the gap between FNC in primetime (25-54) vs. a year ago, with FNC’s advantage slipping to only 43,000 vs. 109,000 in 2007. At the same time, CNN widened the gap between MSNBC in primetime (25-54), with CNN posting a 88,000 advantage in 2008 vs. 42,000 in 2007. During 2008, CNN attracted more younger viewers in primetime than the competition, averaging 405,000 in the 18-49 demographic, 27% more than MSNBC’s 318,000 and a 4% advantage over FNC’s 391,000. Among 18-34, CNN attracted 145,000 viewers, FNC had 115,000 and MSNBC drew 136,000 year to date.

Anderson Cooper 360 is the #1 show at 10p Among 25-54: Anderson Cooper 360 is the #1 show at 10p among adults 25-54 year-to-date, as well as in the younger demos 18-49 and 18-34. So far this year, Anderson Cooper 360 has averaged 478,000 among adults 25-54, an increase of 68% compared to a year ago — outranking FNC On the Record’s 447,000 and MSNBC Countdown’s (replay) 288,000. Among younger viewers (18-49), Anderson Cooper 360 tops the competition with 416,000 viewers, FNC/On the Record’s follows with 340,000 and MSNBC trails with 242,000. Among 18-34, Anderson Cooper 360 is also #1 with 139,000 viewers compared to FNC/On the Record’s 95,000 and MSNBC’s 105,000.

New CNN Programs: Campbell Brown: No Bias. No Bull has seen strong gains since the program’s launch (March 2008), increasing 62% in total viewers compared to a year ago and growing an impressive 67% among adults 25-54. As the only international public affairs program of its kind on cable news, Fareed Zakaria: GPS increased 76% in total viewers compared to a year ago and grew 81% among adults 25-54 since its launch (June 2008). D.L. Hughley Breaks The News has increased its total viewership by 78% since its launch in October 2008, and increased among adults 25-54 by 96% compared to a year ago.

CNN Programs Grow Double Digits in 2008: Year-to-date, American Morning grew 23% in total viewers and 24% among adults 25-54; The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer was #1 at 5p among 25-54, the first time CNN has outperformed FNC for an entire year at 5p since 2001. Lou Dobbs Tonight increased its audience by 49% in total viewers and grew 43% in 25-54, while Larry King Live has also seen impressive gains this year vs. a year ago, growing 21% among total viewers and is up 33% in adults 25-54. Of note, since the launch of Rachel Maddow on MSNBC (9/8/08-12/21/08), Larry King Live is up 74% among total viewers and increased 97% in adults 25-54, nearly doubling its adults 25-54 audience to 570,000 from 289,000 last year.

CNN Signature Programs/Documentaries: Since the election, CNN has aired several major signature programs, including Escape from Jonestown, which won its premiere telecast on Nov 15th among 25-54 viewers; CNN Heroes, an initiative that recognizes those heroes among us, reached nearly 8 million total viewers in its premiere and repeat telecasts; Christiane Amanpour’s two-hour documentary on genocide, Scream Bloody Murder reached an impressive cumulative audience of more than 7 million total viewers; and the network continued its commitment to long-form, world-wide reporting with Planet in Peril. Earlier this year, Eyewitness to Murder – The Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. was the #1 telecast in its timeslot in total viewers and the demo among cable news networks, while Black in America won its timeslot on July 24th and 25th in both total viewers and the demo.

Election 2008: With all news organizations covering the 2008 election, CNN distinguished itself both on television and online by winning more primary debates, primary nights, convention nights, presidential commission debates than any other news network—culminating in a transformational election night win on Nov 4th (8-12:30 pm), topping all the broadcast (ABC, NBC, CBS) and cable news networks to rank as the most-watched network on television during that time period.

Election Night

CNN was the most-watched network on television from 8-12:30a, topping every other network in total viewers and among 25-54
Election Night ranked as CNN’s highest primetime audience among P2+ and P25-54 in history.
Online, the CNN Digital Network was the No.1 news property on Election Day 2008 as it attracted its largest audience ever, with 12.8 million unique visitors, over 700,000 higher than MSNBC and 1.4 million higher than Yahoo! News. (Source: Nielsen Online)
CNN.com Live, the Internet’s only live, multi-stream video news service, shattered its all-time record by serving 5.3 million live streams on Election Day. (Source: Omniture SiteCatalyst)
Presidential Commission Debates

CNN was the #1 cable network among 25-54, 18-49 and 18-34 for all three Presidential commission debates
CNN was the most watched network during the commission’s Vice Presidential debate among adults 25-54 and younger viewers, 18-34. CNN had the highest 18-34 telecast on television that day.
Online, the CNN Digital Network ranked No. 1 during the Presidential and Vice Presidential Debates as it registered the largest Audience. Averaging 7.9 million unique visitors across all 4 debates, CNN Digital bested No. 2 Yahoo! News by 9 % and No. 3 MSNBC by 18 %. (Source: Nielsen Online)

CNN delivered the #1 program in all of television on the night of Obama’s acceptance speech at the DNC.
CNN won every night of the Democratic National Convention among the cable networks.
Online, the CNN Digital Network was the No. 1 News Property during the party conventions as it registered over 183 million total minutes for the Democratic National Convention and 208 million total minutes during the Republican National Convention. (Source: Nielsen Online)
Primary Nights

CNN was #1 in primetime among total viewers (not Iowa) and 25-54 on all major primary nights including Super Tuesday, where CNN outperformed CBS at 10p in total viewers and among all the key demos: adults 25-54, 18-49 and 18-34. Also on Super Tuesday, CNN topped ABC and CBS in all of prime time coverage among P18-34 and beat ABC at 10p among P18-49. On June 3, the night of the final primaries, CNN outperformed ABC among total viewers (NBC and CBS did not air coverage).
Primary Debates

CNN aired seven of the top ten Democratic/Republican primary debates in cable history among 25-54 during the 2008 election season.
CNN’s California Democratic Debate on January 31, 2008 ranked as the #1 cable news primary debate of all time.

HLN Scores Double Digit Increases This Year: In 2008, HLN increased its audience in total day by 16% in total viewers and 19% in P25-54, versus 2007 to date. In primetime, HLN increased its audience by 29% in total viewers and 34% in P25-54. Additionally, every program from 6 a.m. through 10 p.m. showed double-digit growth in P25-54. Program highlights for 2008 to-date include:

· Morning Express with Robin Meade continued the network’s trend of double-digit growth with 22% increase in total viewers and a 19% increase in P25-54.

· Nancy Grace had her best yearly deliveries ever in 2008, at both 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. topping The O’Reilly Factor in growth, up 38% in P2+ compared to The O’Reilly Factor’s 29%. Nancy Grace also increased 49% among P25-54 while The O’Reilly Factor increased only 33%. Nancy Grace at 10 p.m. increased 30% in P2+, and 29% in P25-54. Beyond her overall performance, Grace had her best day in the show’s history at 8 p.m. on December 11, 2008, with 2.4 million viewers, with continuing coverage of the Caylee Anthony story.

· Topping its record-breaking performance in 2007, Showbiz Tonight at 11 p.m. continued to show growth, increasing in P2+ by 10% and in P25-54 by 8%.

In 2008, HLN’s average monthly cumulative audience in P25-54 exceeds that of Fox News: 25,907,000 compared to 25,193,000, respectively.

CNN Digital Network Dominates Competition in 2008

CNN Digital ranked No.1 in the News and Information category in both Total Minutes and Page Views in 2008. (Source: Nielsen Online, Jan. – Nov. 2008)

During the year, CNN Digital generated an average of 1.4 billion minutes a month, which represents a 25 % lead ahead of No. 2 MSNBC and 35 % over No.3 Wikipedia.
In regard to Page Views, CNN Digital secured the No.1 spot in the News and Information category as it registered an average of 1.7 billion page views a month in 2008, leading No. 2 MSNBC by 45% and No. 3 Wikipedia by 53%.

2008 also was a banner year for CNN.com’s video usage, as the site has served nearly 1.4 million video streams, an 85% increase over last year. (Source: Omniture SiteCatalyst, Jan. – Nov. 2008)

CNN.com Live served an average of more than 6.7 million live streams per month, a 178% increase over last year. (Source: Omniture SiteCatalyst, Jan. – Nov. 2008)
In 2008, CNNMoney.com served more video streams than any other news site and registered a 219 % lead over its closest competitor MSN Money. (Source: Nielsen Video Census, Jan. – Oct. 2008)

The Political Ticker, the No.1 Political News Blog according to Nielsen Online, secured the No.1 spot among the top political news blogs by generating an average of 66 million usage minutes a month. (Source: Nielsen Online)

CNN Mobile also ranked No. 1 in 2008 within the Top Mobile Internet News Providers category, averaging over 8 million unique visitors a month in 2008. (Source: Nielsen Mobile, Jan. – Oct. 2008)