CNN has experienced a roller coaster month of April. It gained a new owner and a new CEO in Chris Licht, with both promptly shutting down the network’s highly-publicized subscription-based streaming service CNN+ after just a month in operation. Additionally, its Nielsen ratings for April are down from the previous month, although to be fair, March was a time when the network was gaining viewers (especially those under-55) due to its global breaking news coverage surrounding Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In April, CNN shed -43% in total primetime viewers, -54% from the primetime demo, -34% in total day viewers and -43% in total day adults 25-54 vs. March 2022.
Despite the double-digit-percent decline, CNN still is finishing April 2022 among basic cable’s top ten in total day, both in total viewers (No. 4) and among adults 25-54 (No. 8). How about in primetime? The story wasn’t quite as positive. CNN ranks No. 13 in April 2022 among total viewers, and No. 15 in the primetime demo.
Nevertheless, for the third consecutive month, CNN beat rival MSNBC on weekends and among adults 25-54, both in total day and in primetime.
The year-over-year trend remains poor. This isn’t a huge surprise, however. In April 2021, CNN TV viewership was significant, especially in total day, driven by wall-to-wall coverage of the Derek Chauvin murder trial/guilty verdict. Chauvin was the police officer who was found guilty of murdering George Floyd. During a heavy news cycle, as a news organization, CNN sees the most significant audience increases. Therefore, it’s not exactly stunning that viewership is down the most relative to its main competition. That was true vs. March 2022, as well as in most measurements vs. April 2021. This past month, CNN shed -33% in total primetime viewers, -39% in the primetime demo, -26% in total day viewers and -36% in total day adults 25-54 vs. April 2021.
The average Nielsen live + same day impressions for April ’22:
- Prime time (Mon.-Sun.): 694,000 total viewers/ 168,000 A25-54
- Total Day (Mon.-Sun.): 582,000 total viewers/ 132,000 A25-54
On the programming front, Anderson Cooper 360 remains CNN’s highest rated program in both total viewers and in the key A25-54, and defeated the 8 p.m. MSNBC competition in the A25-54 demo (but not in total viewers). The Lead with Jake Tapper, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Erin Burnett Outfront and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon beat their MSNBC competition in the demo, but came up short in total viewers. Additionally, for the second consecutive month, New Day beat MSNBC’s Morning Joe in the key demo, but CNN’s 9 p.m. hour continues to struggle mightily without a permanent host.
CNN’s ratings press release for April 2022:
CNN SURPASSES MSNBC IN EVERY DAYPART AMONG ADULTS 25-54 FOR THE THIRD MONTH IN APRIL
Key CNN Programs Including The Lead with Jake Tapper, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Erin Burnett Outfront, Anderson Cooper 360 and Don Lemon Tonight All Outperform MSNBC by Wide Margins in Demo
New Day with John Berman and Brianna Keiler Tops MSNBC’s Morning Joe for the Second Consecutive Month in Demo
CNN is a Top Five Cable Network in Total Day and Dayside in Total Viewers
CNN Films: Navalny Ranks #1 in Cable News in Demo & Younger Viewers
For the third straight month, CNN surpassed MSNBC across all dayparts including Total Day, Prime Time, Dayside and on weekends in the key demo adults 25-54 according to Nielsen data. Key CNN programs including The Lead with Jake Tapper, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Erin Burnett Outfront, Anderson Cooper 360 and Don Lemon Tonight beat MSNBC by wide margins in April among adults 25-54. For the second consecutive month, CNN’s New Day beat MSNBC’s Morning Joe in the key demo adults 25-54. This month, CNN is a Top Five cable network (not just news) across Total Day and Dayside in total viewers and a Top 10 network in the demo adults 25-54.
Competitively, MSNBC ranked #3 in all dayparts in the demo and had its lowest performance in Total Day since 2003 and had its lowest demo performance in M-Su/M-F Prime since 2015.
CNN reaches more people in the U.S. than any other news brand across TV and digital among 25-54 (85 million) and ranks second among 18-34 (40 million). The network has the third largest reach among total people (174 million)*. In addition to reaching the largest audience, CNN also attracts the youngest audience in cable news in Total Day, M-Su Prime and in M-F Prime.
- In Total Day (6am-6am), CNN easily beat MSNBC in the key demo adults 25-54 (132k vs. MSNBC’s 75k) in April. CNN has now outperformed MSNBC for the 29th consecutive month in Total Day demo 25-54. MSNBC had its lowest Total Day since 2003 (75k) in the demo.
- In Prime Time (M-Su 8-11pm), CNN outperformed MSNBC (169k vs. 126k), now for the fourth straight month among adults 25-54. MSNBC had its lowest demo delivery in M-Su prime (126k) and M-F prime (159k) in the key demo since 2015.
- In Weekday Prime Time (M-F 8-11pm), CNN beat MSNBC (190k vs. 159k) for the third consecutive month in the demo.
- During Dayside (9am-4pm), CNN outperformed MSNBC for the 98th straight month, averaging (159k vs. 75k) in the demo. During the day, CNN ranked #2 in all of cable (not just news) in total viewers and the demo in April.
- On Weekends, CNN beat MSNBC for all 24 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. In Total Day, CNN outperformed MSNBC (6am-6am) in total viewers (547k vs. 385k) and in the demo 25-54 (107k vs. 42k). In weekend prime time, CNN beat MSNBC in total viewers (579k vs. 439k) and adults 25-54 (118k vs. 46k). All of CNN’s Sunday morning programs topped MSNBC in total viewers and the demo 25-54 in April.
April Weekday Program Ratings
- New Day with John Berman and Brianna Keilar (6-9am) topped MSNBC’s Morning Joe for the second straight month (103k vs. 95k) in the demo for the first time since October 2017. New Day outperformed MSNBC by +8% among 25-54. Early Start with Christine Romans and Laura Jarrett (5-6am) ranked #2 among 25-54 (70k), ahead of MSNBC’s Way Too Early (46k) by +52%.
- All CNN dayside programs (9am-4pm) beat MSNBC in both total viewers and the demo 25-54 including CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto (10am), At This Hour with Kate Bolduan (11am), Inside Politics with John King (noon), CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera (1pm) and CNN Newsroom with Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell (2-4pm).
- The Lead with Jake Tapper topped MSNBC this month at 4pm (172k vs. 99k, +74% advantage) now for the 26th straight month in the demo. At 5pm, the Tapper-led program had a +81% lead over MSNBC’s Deadline: White House (185k vs. 102k) and has now surpassed them for the 12th consecutive month in adults 25-54. This month, The Lead at 4pm had its second largest advantage over MSNBC in the demo 25-54 since April 2017 (last month was the largest).
- The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (6pm) outperformed MSNBC this month in the key demographic adults 25-54 (191k vs. 109k), posting a +75% advantage. The Blitzer-led program has now outperformed MSNBC for the 26th consecutive month.
- Erin Burnett Outfront (7pm) outperformed MSNBC’s ReidOut in April in the key demo 25-54 (220k vs. 126k), averaging a +75% advantage. The Burnett-led program has now surpassed MSNBC for the 33rd straight month. Erin Burnett Outfront was CNN’s highest-rated program in the demo (220k) in April.
- Anderson Cooper 360 (8pm) topped All in With Chris Hayes (217k vs. 136k) this month, now outperforming MSNBC for the 28th consecutive month in the demo 25-54, posting a +60% advantage. AC 360 was CNN’s highest-rated program in total viewers (855k) in April.
- CNN programming at 9pm (includes AC 360 and CNN Tonight) delivered 186k among adults 25-54 and 731k among total viewers.
- Don Lemon Tonight (10pm) beat MSNBC’s Last Word in April (169k vs. 142k, +19% advantage) now for the third consecutive month in the demo 25-54. At 11pm, the Lemon-led program had a +24% lead over MSNBC’s The 11th Hour (134k vs. 108k) and has now surpassed them also for the third straight month in 25-54.
April Weekend Program Ratings
New Day Weekend with Christi Paul and Boris Sanchez surpassed MSNBC in both total viewers and the demo adults 25-54 during its respective time periods on both Saturdays and Sundays. Smerconish topped MSNBC at 9am on Saturday mornings in total viewers (753k vs. 556k, +35%) and in the key demo 25-54 (139k vs. 55k) by an impressive +153%. On weekend mornings/afternoons/evenings, CNN Newsroom with Christi Paul and Boris Sanchez, CNN Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield, CNN Newsroom with Jim Acosta and CNN Newsroom with Pamela Brown all outperformed MSNBC in each hour on Saturdays/Sundays in both total viewers and the demo 25-54.
On Sunday mornings, all CNN programs including Inside Politics with Abby Phillip (8am), State of the Union with Jake Tapper/Dana Bash (9am, noon), Fareed Zakaria GPS (10am, 1pm) and Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter (11am) outperformed MSNBC in April in both total viewers and the demo 25-54.
CNN Films and Special Programming
- CNN Films: Navalny (4/24/22 9-11pm) was most-watched in cable news in the key demo 25-54 (187k) and among younger viewers 18-34 (38k), up versus the prior four Sundays by +68% and +100% respectively . In total viewers, Navalny ranked #2 ahead of MSNBC by an impressive +113% and was up +56% vs. the prior four.
- CNN Films: Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain (4/10/22 9-11:30pm) was most-watched in cable news in the key demo 25-54 (164k) and in younger viewers 18-34 (31k) during its time period, and averaged 1.381 million in total viewers, easily surpassing MSNBC.
- Being… with Dana Bash: Barry Manilow (4/16/22 11pm-12am) delivered 313k total viewers and 59k among adults 25-54.
(Note: CNN Films data represents most recent Live+3 and Live+7 blended data)
*Multiplatform Reach Source: Comscore Xmedia Total view Audience Analysis Report. Reach includes TV & Digital (computer & mobile). Live +7. Period: January 2022 (average monthly).
Based on P25-54, P18-34 & P2+.
Of note: Nielsen’s month of April is from March 28, 2022-April 24, 2022. Last April (2021), CNN had record ratings highs due to increased viewership from the trial of Derek Chauvin, the police officer who was found guilty of murdering George Floyd. During that time of breaking news and as a news organization, CNN increased the most. Therefore, it is not surprising that this April, cable news viewership is down vs. last year’s highs.