January 2016 Ratings: CNN News Specials Drive Growth

By Chris Ariens Comment

CNN saw across-the-board growth in January, up a whopping +40 percent in prime time, among total viewers.

The network was also up +20 percent in the demo in prime as CNN news specials, including the Guns in America town hall, the State of the Union address, and a Democratic candidate town hall, all brought in viewers.

The ratings for January, 2016 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 842,000 total viewers / 271,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 579,000 total viewers / 168,000 A25-54

For total day viewing CNN was up a more modest +12 percent in viewers and up +1 percent in the A25-54 demo, but enough to make it the No. 2 cable network after Fox News. CNN has topped MSNBC for 19 months straight in total day viewing. CNN’s afternoon politics shows The Lead with Jake Tapper and the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer were both up: +7 percent for Tapper and +10 percent for Blitzer vs. January 2015.

Here’s CNN’s release:

CNN STRONG #2, UP DOUBLE-DIGITS IN JANUARY

Ranks #1 across Cable News in Weekend Total Day and Prime in Demo

CNN Special Events Programming Tops Competition

January was another strong month for CNN with the network kicking off the year ranking #2 in cable news and growing double-digits vs. a year ago. For the month, CNN ranked #2 in cable news in Total Day and Primetime in both total viewers and the demo 25-54. CNN has now topped MSNBC for the 19th straight month in Total Day among both total viewers and the demo, and in Primetime in the demo – the longest winning streak in almost eight years (since Feb. 2008). CNN has now beaten MSNBC in Primetime in total viewers for the second consecutive month. Also in January, CNN ranked #1 in cable news on weekends (Sat/Sun) in both Total Day and Primetime among 25-54.

Of particular note, CNN special events programming all ranked #1 across cable news in their time periods this month:

• AC360: Guns in America Town Hall ranked #1 among 25-54 and 18-34. (1/7/16, 8-9:12p);
• 2016 State of the Union Address ranked #1 in total viewers, 25-54 and 18-34. (1/12/16, 9:11-10:09p);
• Iowa Democratic Town Hall ranked #1 among total viewers, 25-54, and 18-34 and was highest-rated primary candidates’ cable news event (excluding debates) on record among Live+SD. (1/25/16, 9-11:05p);
• New Year’s Eve with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin ranked #1 in total viewers, 25-54 and 18-34. This year’s show was best ever with the co-hosts among total viewers in the 12a-12:30a time period. (12/31/15, 8p-12:38a).

CNN January 2016 Program Highlights:

Dayside:
• CNN dayside (9a-4p) programs all ranked #2 in January with CNN posting a +61% advantage over MSNBC in total viewers (639k vs. 396k) and a +82% lead in the demo (155k vs. 85k). MSNBC ranked #3.

Late Afternoons:
• The Lead with Jake Tapper (4pm) ranked #2 in cable news, easily topping MSNBC in both total viewers (713k vs. MSNBC’s 425k) and the demo (169k vs. 87k). The Lead grew +7% in total viewers from a year ago.
• The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (5-7pm) ranked #2 in cable news besting MSNBC in both total viewers (712k vs. MSNBC’s 538k) and in the demo (191k vs. 101k). The Situation Room was up in total viewers (+10%) vs. year ago.

Primetime:
• CNN beat MSNBC during M-F primetime hours at 7pm, 8pm and 10pm in the key demo 25-54.
• Erin Burnett Outfront (7pm) ranked #2 in the demo (218k), topping MSNBC’s Hardball (165k) by +32%. EBOF was up +14% vs. a year ago in total viewers and +3% in the demo 25-54.
• Anderson Cooper 360 ranked #2 in both total viewers (952k) and the demo (287k) easily topping MSNBC’s Chris Hayes (830k/178k). AC 360 was the highest-rated CNN primetime news program. AC 360 grew +34% in total viewers and +16% in the demo compared to last year. CNN has now topped MSNBC in total viewers for the fourth straight month and in the demo for the 19th consecutive month at 8p.
• CNN Tonight with Don Lemon ranked #2 in the demo (212k), topping MSNBC (179k). CNN has now beaten MSNBC at 10pm for the 19th straight month in the important key demo 25-54. The Lemon-led program was up +31% in total viewers and +12% among 25-54 vs. last year.

Saturdays:
• New Day Saturday (6-9a) ranked #2 in cable news each hour in total viewers and the demo 25-54. MSNBC was 4th.
• Smerconish (9am) ranked #2 in total viewers (692k vs. MSNBC’s 326k) and more than doubled MSNBC among 25-54 (157k vs. MSNBC’s 73k).
• CNN Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield ranked #1 at 11a, 12p, 1p and 2p among 25-54. The show was up double-digits most hours vs. a year ago.
• CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow ranked #1 during the 3-6pm hours in the key demo 25-54 in January. The program was also up double digits each hour in total viewers and most hours in the demo compared to last year.

Sundays:
• Inside Politics with John King (8:30a) ranked #2 in both total viewers (614k) and the demo (168k). MSNBC ranked 4th. The program grew +57% in total viewers and +28% in the demo from last year.
• State of the Union with Jake Tapper ranked #2 on Sundays at 9am and was #1 at noon in the key demo 25-54. At 9am SOTU averaged 674k in total viewers and grew +35% vs. last year, registering 173k in the demo (+12%). At noon, SOTU was up +29% in total viewers (825k) and +44% in the demo (188k) compared to a year ago.
• Fareed Zakaria GPS (10am) ranked #2 in total viewers (772k, up +27%) and in the demo 25-54 (185k). At 1p GPS ranked #1 in the demo 25-54 (159k, up +17%).
• Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter (11am) grew significantly vs. a year ago, increasing +49% in total viewers and +42% in the demo 25-54. RS ranked #2 this month in both total viewers (749k) and among 25-54 (190k).

CNN Films and CNN Films Presents:
• CNN Films: Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine Premiere (Sun 1/3/16, 9p-11p): Across cable news in its time period, ranked #1 among total viewers, 25-54 and 18-34. The film outperformed the combined delivery of FXNC and MSNBC in each demo. Of the 21 CNN Films and 5 CNN Films Presents premieres to-date among Live+SD, Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine is the 3rd highest-rated among 25-54 (after Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me and Blackfish).
• CNN Films: Sunshine Superman Premiere (Sun 1/17/16, 9p-10:55p): Across cable news in its time period, ranked #2 in 25-54 and #1 in 18-34. Attracted the youngest audience across cable news in its time period.
• CNN Films Presents: History of the Eagles Premiere (Sat 1/30/16, 8-11:55p): CNN ranked #1 in total viewers, 25-54 and 18-34. The film outperformed the combined delivery of FXNC and MSNBC in 25-54 and total viewers. Of the 21 CNN Films and 5 CNN Films Presents premieres to-date among Live+SD, History of the Eagles is the 3rd highest-rated among total viewers (after Glen Campbell…I’ll Be Me and Blackfish).

Data is a blend of Nielsen Live+SD and the more inclusive Live+3 and final Live+7 data when available.

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