April 2018 Ratings: MSNBC Continues to Post Year-Over-Year Audience Growth

By A.J. Katz Comment

MSNBC has established itself as a perennial top 5 network in total viewers, and it continues to post double digit year-over-year audience growth. This was again the case in April 2018, where  compared with April of last year, the network was +24 percent in total prime time viewers, +11 percent in the prime time demo, +22 percent in total day viewers and +16 percent in the total day demo.

During dayside hours (M-F, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.), MSNBC was up +38 percent in A25-54, and up +30 percent in total viewers over April 2017. Both Fox News and CNN were down in dayside.

MSNBC also continues to beat CNN in prime time.

The average impressions for April 2018 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 1,934,000 total viewers / 398,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 1,005,000 total viewers / 215,000 A25-54

Rachel Maddow had the No. 2 cable news program of the month among total viewers and the key A25-54 demo, only behind Sean Hannity. According to the network, if one includes special broadcasts, Maddow was actually No. 1. in the demo for April, but specials are not traditionally taken into account when analyzing cable news ratings. TRMS averaged over 3 million in total viewers, up +25 percent compared to her April 2017 ratings.

In April, The 11th Hour hosted by Brian Williams was No. 1 in its hour, beating Fox News @ Night with Shannon Bream, and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon.

Also in April, Morning Joe defeated CNN New Day in total viewers (38 straight months) and in the key A25-54 demo (6 consecutive months) despite the latter managing to set April ratings records. MJ also posted double digit year-over-year audience growth in multiple categories, including total viewers (+18 percent) and A25-54 viewers (+13 percent).

Here’s MSNBC’s release:

 MORE VIEWERS TURN TO MSNBC THAN CNN IN TOTAL DAY FOR THE 14TH CONSECUTIVE MONTH
MSNBC Prime (M-F 8-11pm) Doubles CNN in Total Viewers for 6th Straight Month
MSNBC Total Day (M-Su 6am-6am) and Dayside (M-F 9am-5pm) Both Post Double-Digit Growth in Total Viewers and A25-54
“The Rachel Maddow Show” Is the #1 Program in All of Cable News for A25-54
“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” Is #1 in Cable News for A25-54 and Total Viewers at 11pm
“Deadline: White House” Achieves Record Viewership for MSNBC at 4pm
“Morning Joe” Tops CNN in A25-54 for 6th Consecutive Month and Total Viewers for 38th Consecutive Month
MSNBC Posts Total-Viewer Victory Over CNN Every Hour Weekdays 5am-3am and Weekends at 10am
NEW YORK (May 1, 2018) – MSNBC’s coverage of both breaking news and analysis in April marked the 14th consecutive month that MSNBC led CNN in total day (M-Su 6am-6am) among total viewers, according to Nielsen. Additionally, April marked the 6th straight month that MSNBC weekday prime (M-F 8-11pm) doubled CNN in total viewers.
In weekday prime, MSNBC averaged 2,394,000 total viewers, ranking as the #2 network across all of cable and beating CNN for the 17th straight month. MSNBC also beat CNN for the 7th consecutive month in A25-54, averaging 501,000 viewers. MSNBC was the only cable news network to post double-digit growth over April 2017 in both total viewers (+19% vs. FOX News’ -1% and CNN’s -2%) and A25-54 (+11% vs. FOX News’ +1% and CNN’s -6%).
MSNBC’s total day (M-Su 6am-6am) and dayside (M-F 9am-5pm) delivered double-digit growth in both A25-54 and total viewers. In total day, MSNBC was up +16% in A25-54 (vs. FOX News’ -11% and CNN’s -12%) and up +22% in total viewers (vs. FOX News’ -7% and CNN’s -3%) over April 2017, ranking as the #2 cable news network in total viewers for the 14th straight month. In dayside, MSNBC was up +38% in A25-54 (vs. FOX News’ -17% and CNN’s -12%) and up +30% in total viewers (vs. FOX News’ -16% and CNN’s -4%) over April 2017, beating CNN in the daypart for the 7th straight month.
“The Rachel Maddow Show” continued to rank as the #1 program in the A25-54 demographic across all of cable news as well as for the 9pm time period (including all specials) for the month of April. “Maddow” also performed strongly in total viewers, ranking as the #2 program across all of cable news. “Maddow” averaged over 3 million in total viewers, up +25% (vs. FOX News’ +17% and CNN’s +1%), and 637,000 in A25-54, up +13% (vs. FOX News’ +17% and CNN’s -7%) over April 2017.
“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” was the #1 cable news show at 11pm in both total viewers and A25-54 for the month of April, beating both FOX News and CNN in the timeslot. In total viewers, “The 11th Hour” averaged 1,629,000 viewers (vs. FOX News’ 1,510,000 and CNN’s 850,000), up +17% over April 2017 (vs. FOX News’ +2% and CNN’s -7%). In A25-54, the program averaged 376,000 (vs. FOX News’ 354,000 and CNN’s 300,000), up +15% over April 2017 (vs. FOX News’ -10% and CNN’s -16%). This was the 11th time in the last 12 months that “The 11th Hour” was #1 at 11pm in total viewers and the 5th time in the last 6 months that it was #1 in A25-54.
“Morning Joe” topped CNN in A25-54 for the 6th consecutive month and in total viewers for the 38th consecutive month. “Morning Joe” averaged 1,073,000 total viewers, nearly doubling CNN (625,000) and up +18% over April 2017 (vs. FOX News’ -6% and CNN’s +0%). In A25-54, “Morning Joe” averaged 237,000 viewers, up +13% over April 2017 (vs. FOX News’ -13% and CNN’s -10%).
“Deadline: White House” achieved record viewership for MSNBC at 4pm, averaging 1,331,000 total viewers (vs. CNN’s 927,000). “Deadline: White House” was the only cable news program to post growth in the 4pm hour, up +74% (vs. FOX News’ -19% and CNN’s -4%) in total viewers and +71% (vs. FOX News’ -11% and CNN’s -9%) in A25-54 over April 2017. “Deadline” has posted double-digit growth month-over-month since its premiere in May 2017.
Overall, more viewers are turning to MSNBC over CNN. Every hour of MSNBC’s Monday-Friday weekday programming between 5am-3am beat CNN in total viewers, including: “Morning Joe First Look” at 5am for the 6th month in a row; “Morning Joe” from 6-9am for the 38th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” at 9am for the 15th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson” at 10am for the 7th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Velshi and Ruhle” at 11am for the 7th straight month; “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 12pm for the 10th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin” at 1pm for the 6th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Katy Tur” at 2pm for the 6th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi” at 3pm for the 6th straight month; “Deadline: White House” at 4pm for the 7th straight month; “MTP Daily” at 5pm for the 12th straight month; “The Beat with Ari Melber” at 6pm for the 10th straight month; “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7pm for the 21st straight month; “All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm for the 17th straight month; “The Rachel Maddow Show” at 9pm for the 59th straight month; “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm for the 35th straight month; and “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” at 11pm for the 21st straight month. April also marked the 7th straight month “AM Joy” beat CNN in total viewers at 10am on Saturdays and the 4th straight month on Sundays.
Several MSNBC programs also beat CNN in A25-54, including: “Morning Joe” from 6-9am; “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” at 9am; “All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm; “The Rachel Maddow Show” at 9pm; “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm; and “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” at 11pm.
Year-to-date, MSNBC.com is having its best year on record with video, up vs. 2017 monthly average (the site’s previous best). In addition, video engagement on MSNBC.com averages 54 minutes per viewer, 3x longer than FOXNews.com and 2x longer than CNN.com (source: comScore 2018TD multiplatform video Jan-March monthly averages).
NOTE: April 2018 ratings are based on Nielsen Live+Same data day for 4/2/18-4/29/18. Individual show data represents regular programming only, excluding specials and breaking news.
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