Basic Cable Network Ranker: August 2019

By A.J. Katz Comment

Which was the most-watched basic cable network for August 2019? Well, that would be Fox News.

FNC marked its 38th consecutive month as the most-watched basic cable network in total day (6 a.m. – 6 a.m.) August 2019 also represented the 3rd consecutive month that Fox was the No. 1 basic cable network in total prime time viewers, and it also marked the 212nd consecutive month as the No. 1 cable news network in total viewers.

CNN, however, defeated both Fox News and MSNBC in the prime time demo this month, thanks to the its prime time coverage of the Democratic primary debates on back-to-back nights.

As we noted on Tuesday, Fox News was +6% in total prime time viewers, +4% in total day viewers, -11% in prime time adults 25-54 and -7% in adults 25-54, total day.

Elsewhere on cable news, MSNBC held up as the second-most-watched network across basic cable, both in total day and during prime time.

However, MSNBC was -20% in prime time viewers, -35% in the prime time demo, -16% in total day viewers, and -34% in the total day demo

Interestingly, the network saw a year-over-year ratings drop this month, despite rising two spots from its prime time ranking in August 2018 (No. 4 up to No. 2).

CNN had a strong ratings month, particularly in the demo. The network has been struggling a bit recently in the ratings department, so a top 5 finish across the relevant categories is significant.

Compared with what the network averaged in August 2018, CNN was +40% in total prime time viewers (thanks to the debates), -2% in total day viewers, +13% in prime time adults 25-54 but -19% in adults 25-54, total day.

There a number of standout basic cable networks that delivered year-over-year total prime time audience growth this month, including ESPN (+17%), TLC (+12%), Hallmark Channel (+2%), A&E (+5%) and Discovery (+4%).

Below is the August 2019 basic cable network ranker, sorted by Total Viewers:

August 2019 Basic Cable Ranker

NOTE:

  • Prime excludes networks not in majority of daypart 50%+ in the prime daypart
  • Total Day excludes networks not in majority of daypart 50%+ in the total day daypart
  • Coverage area ratings are within each cable network’s universe.
  • As some networks program different portions of the day, the DUR column indicates each network’s duration in minutes for the measurement period and the daypart.
  • This report includes only those cable networks who supply program names to the industry.

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