February 2019 Ratings: CNN Remains a Top 10 Basic Cable Network

By A.J. Katz Comment

CNN is a top 10 basic cable network for the month of February 2019, cracking the top 10 in total day for the 14th consecutive month. In total day viewers, CNN is the No. 6, and in prime time, CNN finishes No. 10.

Yes, CNN is once again finishing in third place during prime time, but the network posted the most significant audience growth in the daypart, +10 percent vs. its February 2018.

The network was also +1 percent in total day viewers this month vs. in Feb. 2018.

However, similar to its MSNBC rival, CNN struggled among adults 25-54 relative to last year. The network was -11 percent in the prime time demo and -14 percent in the total day demo.

The ratings for Feb., 2019 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 1,073,000 total viewers / 316,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun):  707,000 total viewers /  197,000 A25-54

CNN is touting its performance among adults 25-54 this month. The network defeated MSNBC in the key demo for the 56th straight month. That’s across the 6 a.m. – 6 a.m. daypart, not in prime time, of course.

For instance, Erin Burnett Outfront finished runner up to Fox News in the A25-54 demo, but defeated Hardball, hosted by her friend, Chris Matthews, in the category for the 9th consecutive month. Outfront delivered its 3rd-highest February in program history.

Anderson Cooper 360 drew more viewers than MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes in the demo for the 8th consecutive month, and posted its second-most-watched February ever.

Cuomo Prime Time remained CNN’s No. 1 show, and posted +28 percent growth in total viewers from Feb. 2018.

CNN Tonight with Don Lemon posted the most significant total viewers growth in his time slot (+21 percent year-over-year), and his second-most-watched February on record.

At 4 p.m., The Lead with Jake Tapper finished ahead of MSNBC in the key A25-54 demo for the 8th consecutive month.

Here’s CNN’s press release:

CNN TOPS MSNBC FOR 56TH STRAIGHT MONTH IN KEY DEMO

 

Network Posts Third-Highest February in 10 Years in Total Day; CNN Prime Time Grows the Most in Cable News vs. Last Year

 

Anderson Cooper 360 and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon Post Second-Highest February on Record

 

Cuomo Prime Time is #1 Show on CNN; Grows an Impressive +28%

 

CNN Ranks as Top 10 Network in All of Cable for 14th Consecutive Month

 

In February, CNN surpassed MSNBC in total day for the 56th straight month among adults 25-54 (198k vs. 185k) and registered the network’s third-highest February in 10 years (since 2009) among total viewers (709k), just after 2016 and 2017.  In prime time, CNN had its third-best February since 2009 in total viewers (1.08million), following 2016 and 2017. CNN grew the most of all the cable news networks in prime time vs. last year, increasing +12% in M-F prime time in total viewers.  In M-Su prime, CNN is up +8% among total viewers compared to a year ago.

 

For a record 60th consecutive month, CNN topped MSNBC during dayside (196k vs. 158k) among adults 25-54, the longest streak in history. This is CNN’s third-highest February dayside in 10 years (since 2009) among both total viewers (793k) and 25-54 (196k), behind 2017 and 2018.  On weekends, CNN ranked #2 in cable news in total day with 145k, MSNBC followed with 100k among adults 25-54.  In weekend prime time, CNN topped MSNBC (140k vs. 96k) in the key demo 25-54. CNN outperformed MSNBC for 22 out of 24 hours on Saturdays and for 23 hours on Sundays.

 

Among ALL cable networks, CNN ranked #6 in total viewers in total day this month.  This marks the 14th straight month that CNN is a Top 10 cable network among total viewers in total day. In M-F prime time, CNN ranked #6 in total viewers, making this the eighth straight month that CNN ranks as a Top 10 cable network.

 

CNN News Program February Highlights:

  • Erin Burnett Outfront (7pm) easily topped MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews in February in the key demo adults 25-54 (309k vs. 274k).  The Burnett-led program has now topped MSNBC for the ninth straight month and for 10 out of the last 12 months.  This is EBOF’s third-highest February on record among both total viewers (982k) and 25-54 (309k), just behind 2017 and 2018.
  • Anderson Cooper 360 (8pm) drew more viewers than MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes in the key demo adults 25-54 (361k vs. 333k), now topping Hayes for the eighth straight month.  This is AC 360’s second best February in total viewers (1.247 million), just following 2017 and third best among adults 25-54 (361k), after 2017 and 2018. The Cooper-led program is up the most in cable news at 8pm, increasing +9%, while Hayes is +4% and Fox’s Tucker is down -4%.
  • Cuomo Prime Time (9pm) is once again the CNN’s #1 news program this month in both total viewers (1.298 million) and adults 25-54 (368k).  This is the network’s overall third-highest February at 9pm in 15 years (since 2004) in total viewers (behind 2009 and 2017) and third-highest February since 2008 among adults 25-54 (behind 2017 and 2009).  Cuomo Prime Time is also up an impressive +28% in total viewers, while Fox’s Hannity is down -7% and Maddow is up +5% vs. last year.  The Cuomo-led program is even in the key demographic adults 25-54 this month vs. last year, while Hannity lost nearly one quarter of his audience (down -23%) and Maddow is off -16%.
  • CNN Tonight with Don Lemon grew the most in cable news at 10pm, increasing +21% in total viewers (1.126 million) vs. a year ago, while Fox’s Ingraham is down -6% and MSNBC is +11%.  This is CNN Tonight’s second-best February on record in total viewers (1.126 million), following 2017 and the third highest on record in the key demo 25-54 (342k), behind 2017 and 2018.  This is also the network’s overall third-highest February at 10pm since 2008 and third highest in the demo since 2009.  CNN Tonight, live at 11pm, was up +5% in total viewers vs. last year, while Fox News at Night was down -9% in total viewers vs. last year.
  • The Lead with Jake Tapper (4pm) topped MSNBC’s Deadline White House this month (234k vs. 224k) among adults 25-54, now for the eighth consecutive month.  The Tapper-led program has also topped MSNBC for 10 of the past 12 months. This is the program’s third-highest February on record in both total viewers (946k) and in the demo (234k), and the network’s overall third-highest February in the time period in 10 years (2009) in both demos (behind 2017 and 2018).
  • The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer easily outperformed MSNBC at both 5pm (248k vs. 218k) and at 6pm (268k vs. 253k) for the ninth straight month and for 11 of the past 12 months among adults 25-54.  This is the Blitzer-led program’s third- highest February since 2009 among both total viewers (959k/880k) and adults 25-54 (248k/268k), behind 2017 and 2018 at both 5pm and 6pm.
  • New Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman (6-9amhad its third-highest February on record among both total viewers (553k) and adults 25-54 (166k).  This is also the overall network’s third-highest February on record during the 6-9am time period among total viewers 2017, and third-highest February since 2009 among adults 25-54 (behind 2017 and 2018).

  

CNN Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield (2pm-4pm Sat), CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera (4-8pm Sun) and The Van Jones Show all ranked #1 in the demo 25-54 this month.  

 

Other Key CNN Programs Surpass MSNBC:

Other CNN programs including, CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto, At This Hour with Kate Bolduan, Inside Politics with John King (weekday), CNN Right Now with Brianna Keilar, CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin all easily surpassed MSNBC this month, posting higher demo 25-54 audiences.  On Saturdays,  New Day Sat, Smerconish, CNN Newsroom and S.E. Cupp Unfiltered topped MSNBC.  And on Sunday mornings, New Day Sun, Inside Politics with John King (8am), State of the Union with Jake Tapper (9am), Fareed Zakaria GPS (10am), Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter (11am) and CNN Newsroom all posted more viewers in the key demo 25-54 than MSNBC, ranking #2 in cable news.

 

CNN Films’ February Highlights: 

CNN Films: Three Identical Strangers debuted as CNN’s most-watched CNN Film premiere among both total viewers (1.985 million) and adults 25-54 (499k) (Live+SD).  Adding in Live+7 to the premiere’s live tune-in viewing added an additional 902k among total viewers and 297k in 25-54. Overall, the film attracted 2.523 million total viewers and 654k among adults 25-54.  This represents the network’s largest DVR growth ever for a film.  Three Identical Strangers also posted 324k transactions (starts) on TV VOD, in its first month (1/28-2/24)ranking it #1 among ALL CNN titles 2019 year-to-date.

1Source: Comscore/Rentrak via OnDemand Essentials. CNN TV VOD Usage Data (excludes DirecTV), Total Transactions. Data current as of 2/25/19 and is subject to change.

 

Cable News TV Reach:

CNN continues to reach the largest cumulative TV audience of any cable news network.  In total viewers CNN reached 57.6 million, Fox had 57.0 million and MSNBC reached 44.3 million this month.  CNN also reaches the largest cumulative TV audience among 25-54.

 

Multiplatform Reach**

In 2018:

CNN reaches more people than any other cable news brand across TV and digital.

  • CNN reaches more people in ages 18-34 and 25-54 than any other news brand across TV and digital.

**NOTE: due to data limitations, XMedia data is on a delayed delivery and therefore the above represents 2018 data (Jan-Dec).

 

Out of Home Viewing:

2019TD, CNN is averaging a +5.2% lift (or +12K) in Total Day among P25-54 with OOH viewers and among total viewers, CNN is averaging a +3.3% lift (or +27K) in Total Day.

 

Digital Lift:

In February, live viewing on digital has provided a 2.2% lift to the CNN linear audience.

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