Cable Network Ranker: Week of Feb. 27

By A.J. Katz Comment

Fox News continues to dominate the basic cable landscape when it comes to average total audience. FNC topped the landscape in prime time and total day viewers for the 7th consecutive week, per Nielsen data. Additionally, FNC’s coverage of Pres. Trump’s address to a joint session of Congress on Feb. 28 was the most-watched cable telecast of the entire week with 10.1 million in total viewers. Among cable news last week, Fox News beat CNN and MSNBC combined in both prime time and total day total viewership.

Fox News experienced a year-over-year decline in total viewers: -19 percent in prime time and -3 percent in total day. Why? The network televised a GOP debate on March 3, 2016 which delivered a whopping 16.9 million viewers.

Here are the top 5 basic cable networks in prime time and total day viewers for the week of Feb. 27:

Basic Cable Top 5 – Prime time (P2+)

  1. Fox News (3,474,000)
  2. ESPN (1,771,000)
  3. HGTV (1,655,000)
  4. MSNBC  (1,569,000)
  5. USA (1,524,000)

Basic Cable Top 5 – Total Day (P2+)

  1. Fox News (1,712,000)
  2. Nickelodeon (1,123,000)
  3. HGTV (879,000)
  4. MSNBC (843,000)
  5. Adult Swim (814,000)

MSNBC was the only one of the big 3 to deliver year-over-year improvement in total audience: +37 percent in prime time and +36 percent in total day.

The network earned a rare win over CNN both in prime time and in total day viewers. The former has defeated the latter in prime time for 6 consecutive weeks, but the victory in total day viewers is more rare. MSNBC ranked No. 4 in total viewers in both dayparts.

CNN posted double digit year-over-year audience declines, both in prime time (-35 percent) and in total day (-17 percent). Despite the dropoff, CNN was still a top 10 basic cable network in both dayparts.

HLN ranked No. 50 in prime time this past week, and was -27 percent in total viewers from the same week last year. The network ranked No. 42 in total day viewers, and was -26 percent year-over-year.

CNBC ranked No. 47 in prime time, and was -10 percent in total viewers year-over-year. The network ranked No. 59 in total day, and was -12 percent year-over-year.

Fox Business ranked No. 70 in prime time, and was +15 percent from the same week last year. The network edged its rival in total day (No. 57), and grew +34 percent in the daypart year-over-year. FBN also scored its first-ever weekly win over CNBC in the 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET time period in both total viewers and the demo.

Basic Cable Network Ranker: Week of Feb. 27 (Total Viewers)

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