Fox News and MSNBC may be getting headlines for being the two-most-watched networks on basic cable, but CNN held its own in August 2018.
First, it ranked as a top 10 basic cable network in total viewers, during prime time and across the 24-hour day.
Second, CNN defeated MSNBC this past month in adults 25-54. That’s not out of the ordinary across the 24-hour day, but it is out of the ordinary in prime time. However, it happened in August, with CNN averaging 346,000 A25-54 viewers that month vs. MSNBC’s 340,000 A25-54 viewer average. It’s the first time CNN has defeated MSNBC in the prime time demo since Sept. 2017.
But unlike MSNBC, CNN posted double-digit year-over-year viewer declines in prime time and total day.
The ratings for August 2018:
- Primetime (Mon-Sun): 1,052,000 Total Viewers / 346,000 A25-54
- Total Day (Mon-Sun): 705,000 Total Viewers / 209,000 A25-54
Compared to August 2017, CNN was -12 percent in total prime time viewers, -17 percent in the prime time demo, -15 percent in total day viewers, and -25 percent among adults 25-54 across total day.
That 705,000 total day viewer average, while down from last year, still happens to be the second-best August in the history of the network.
On the August CNN programming front, The Lead with Jake Tapper was the No. 1 cable news program in the 4 p.m. timeslot among adults 25-54.
Cuomo Prime Time was CNN’s highest-rated program for the month. Additionally, New Day, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Erin Burnett Outfront, AC 360 and CNN Tonight all had their second-most-watched August’s ever.
Here’s CNN’s press release:
CNN HAS SECOND-BEST AUGUST EVER IN TOTAL VIEWERS
BEATS MSNBC IN PRIME TIME FOR THE FIRST TIME IN NEARLY A YEAR IN DEMO
CNN Tops MSNBC for Record-Setting 50th Straight Month in Total Day
The Lead and State of the Union with Jake Tapper Rank #1
New Day, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Erin Burnett Outfront, Anderson Cooper 360 and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon
All Have Second-Highest August in Both Total Viewers and Demo 25-54
Cuomo Prime Time is CNN’s Highest-Rated News Program in August
CNN Ranks #7 in Total Day and #10 in Prime Time in ALL of Cable
With the Nielsen month of August ending on Sunday (8/26), CNN posted near record-high viewership in total day, prime time and daytime this month. In total day (6am-6am), CNN had its second-best August ratings ever among total viewers (707k), just behind 2017. In prime time (M-Su 8-11pm), the network had its third-best August delivery on record among adults 25-54 (350k, also following 2017 and 2016). The network had its third-highest August daytime (9am-4pm) ratings performance in 23 years (since 1995) among total viewers (755k), also just after 2017 and 2016. The morning (New Day) and all of CNN’s late afternoon and prime time programs are also having their second-best ratings on record in both total viewers and adults 25-54 (just after 2017 and/or 2016).
For the first time in nearly a year (September 2017), CNN beat MSNBC in prime time in the key demographic adults 25-54 (350k vs. 346k). CNN also once again beat MSNBC in total day and daytime among adults 25-54. In total day, CNN has now surpassed MSNBC for a record-setting 50 straight months in the key demographic 25-54 (210k vs. MSNBC’s 195k), the longest monthly streak since January 2010, and in dayside, for 54 straight months among adults 25-54 (185k vs. MSNBC’s 176k), the longest monthly streak on record.
CNN also easily outperformed MSNBC during weekend programming this month in both total day (181k vs. MSNBC’s 115k) and prime time (258k vs. MSNBC’s 109k) among adults 25-54. CNN also beat MSNBC in total viewers in total day (622k vs. 590k) and in prime time (783k vs. 663k) on weekends. CNN was #1 on Saturdays from 1-5pm, topping both MSNBC and Fox News; while outperforming MSNBC for 22 out of 24 hours in the key demo 25-54. On Sundays, CNN was #1 beginning at noon and continuing to 2am surpassing both MSNBC and Fox News. CNN also topped MSNBC for 24 out of 24 hours on Sundays among adults 25-54.
CNN News Program Highlights:
• New Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman (6-9am) had its second-highest August among both 25-54 (169k) and total viewers (544k) just after 2017. This is also the network’s second highest performance on record among total viewers in the 6-9am time period (following 2017).
• The Lead with Jake Tapper (4pm) ranked #1 in cable news (247k), topping both Fox News (238k) and MSNBC ( 226k) in the key demo among adults 25-54 in August. This is The Lead’s second-highest August (after 2017) in 25-54 (247k) and the network’s second-highest ratings in the 4pm time period since 1995. Among total viewers, this is the third-highest August on record for the program and for the network overall since 1995.
• The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer ranked #2 in cable news this month, easily topping MSNBC at both 5pm (256k vs. MSNBC’s 231k) and at 6pm (283k vs. MSNBC’s 255k) among adults 25-54. This is the second-highest August on record for the Sit Room at 5pm (behind only 2017) among adults 25-54 (256k) and third-highest August among total viewers (933k). It’s also the second-highest August at 6pm among 25-54 and total viewers (283k/900k, just behind last year). This is the network’s second-highest 5pm and 6pm time period ratings since 1995 in the demo 25-54 and third- highest among total viewers.
• Erin Burnett Outfront (7pm) ranked #2 in cable news among adults 25-54 outperforming MSNBC’s Hardball (315k vs. 293k) for the third straight month. The Burnett-led program has now beat Hardball for eight of the past 12 months. This is EBOF’s second-highest August on record in the demo 25-54 (315k) and total viewers (941k) behind only 2017.
• Anderson Cooper 360 (8pm) beat MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes for the second straight month in the key demo adults 25-54 (378k vs. MSNBC’s 351k) this month. This is AC 360’s and the network’s second-highest August on record in the 8p hour among both the demo 25-54 (378k) and total viewers (1.162m) just after 2017.
• Cuomo Prime Time (9pm) which launched in June, was CNN’s #1 news program in August in both adults 25-54 (408k) and total viewers (1.238 million). Cuomo delivered the network’s third-highest 9pm August viewership on record among 25-54 (just after 2017 & 1998).
• CNN Tonight with Don Lemon (10pm) had its second-best August ratings ever in the demo 25-54 (394k) and total viewers (1.181m), only behind last year. This was also the overall network’s third-highest 10pm August performance on record among total viewers (behind only 2007 & 2017).
For the second consecutive month, State of the Union with Jake Tapper ranked #1 in cable news at noon on Sundays in the key demo 25-54 with 224k, Fox News followed with 182k and MSNBC had 165k. The Tapper-led program has now ranked #1 across cable news for six of the past eight months at 12 noon on Sundays. Fareed Zakaria: GPS was #1 on Sundays at 1pm this month in the key demo adults 25-54 averaging 193k, Fox News had 158k and MSNBC trailed with 138k. CNN Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield and CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera were #1 on Sundays in the key demo 25-54. Early Start with Christine Romans and Dave Briggs also ranked #1 from 4-6am among adults 25-54 (127k). CNN’s the Van Jones Show ranked #1 in its time period across cable news in the demo 25-54.
Other key CNN programs Inside Politics with John King, Wolf, CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin, Smerconish, The Axe Files with David Axelrod, S.E. Cupp Unfiltered, State of the Union with Jake Tapper (9am), Fareed Zakaria GPS (10am), Reliable Sources and New Day on weekends all easily surpassed MSNBC this month, posting higher demo 25-54 audiences.
CNN Original Series Highlights:
• The 2000s averaged 368k among 25-54 and 864k in total viewers across the seven Sunday premiere episodes this season (7/8-8/19/18). Each episode ranked #1 in its time period among adults 25-54 and 18-34 and #2 in cable news in total viewers. The 2000s outperformed MSNBC by triple digits and Fox News by double digits among adults 25-54.
• History of Comedy (Season 2) delivered 378k in the key demo 25-54 and 1.04M among total viewers across the six Sunday premiere episodes this season (7/15-8/19/18). Every episode of HOC ranked #1 among adults 25-54 and 18-34 and #2 in total viewers.
So far in 2018, CNN’s The 2000s & History of Comedy S2 are ranking among the top 10 historical non-fiction series in All of Cable among 25-54. Both programs attract a more affluent, educated and diverse 25-54 audience than other series on History Channel and Discovery. CNN claims 5 of the top 10 historical non-fiction series, the most of any cable network and ahead of History Channel.
August Monthly Tracker: Key Demographic Adults 25-54
August Monthly Tracker: Total Viewers
All of Cable:
• In total day, CNN ranks #7 among total viewers. This marks the eighth straight month that CNN is a Top 10 cable network.
• In weekday prime time, CNN ranks #10 among total viewers
Out of Home Viewing 3Q-18TD:
• CNN total day is averaging a 5.2% lift among adults 25-54 (+10k) with Live + 7 Out of Home viewing.
• CNN ranks #2 (+10k) with Out of Home net viewers gained, behind ESPN #1 (+15K).