July 2013 Ratings: Zimmerman Trial Propels HLN

By Alex Weprin 

When there is a big trial, HLN thrives, and that was true in July as the channel covered the George Zimmerman trial. HLN ratings skyrocketed year to year, with the channel up triple digits in some dayside hours.

The ratings for July 2013 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 489,000 Total Viewers / 196,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 386,000 Total Viewers / 159,000 A25-54

Compared to July 2012, HLN was up +54% in primetime among total viewers and +70 % in the A25-54 demo. In total day HLN was up +58% in total viewers and +57% in the demo. HLN topped MSNBC in both categories in total day, but placed fourth behind MSNBC in primetime.


HLN’s biggest growth came during the day when it had courtroom coverage. From 2-3PM it was up +173% in total viewers and +218% in the demo, and at 5-6PM it was up +210% in total viewers and +202% in the demo. Other dayside hours saw similar triple-digit growth.

In primetime, every show was up double digits compared to 2012, with “Dr Drew” at 9 PM showing the most growth by gaining +76% in total viewers and +104% in the demo. “Nancy Grace” was up +34% in total viewers and +65% in the demo, while “HLN After Dark” was up +63% in total viewers and +89% in the demo.

The HLN show with the least growth was “Morning Express,” which was only up +15% in the demo and +30% in total viewers.

Of course, July 2012 was not a great month for HLN, so the growth is not that surprising. Since the Casey Anthony trial the channel has done well when there is a trial to cover, and has struggled when the trial ends.

HLN’s July ratings release:


Network Bests MSNBC In Total Day

HLNtv.com Breaks All-Time Record

HLN continues its ratings momentum, marking five months of consecutive year-over-year growth in prime and total day in both total viewers and P25-54. In M-F prime, the network posted the biggest P25-54 and P2+ viewership gains among all cable news networks and bested MSNBC by +5% in the key demo (197k vs. 188k). In Total Day, HLN was also ahead of MSNBC among P25-54 by +15% (159k vs. 138k), marking the fifth consecutive month HLN outperformed/tied MSNBC.

July 2013 vs. July 2012

PRIME (M-F 8p-11p)

P2+ +55% (466k vs. 301k)
P25-54 +86% (197k vs. 106k)

TOTAL DAY (M-Su 6a-6a)

P2+ +57% (387k vs. 247k)
P25-54 +57% (159k vs. 101k)

In addition, fueled by coverage of the Zimmerman trial, every hour in M-F prime (7-11 p.m. ET) delivered double and triple-digit increases vs. July 2012 in P2+ and P25-54. Program highlights include:
Morning Express with Robin Meade once again surpassed MSNBC’s Morning Joe for the 5th straight month (146k vs. 129k), and ranks as the #2 cable morning news show among P25-54;
Jane Velez-Mitchell (7 p.m. ET) up +64% in P2+ (493k) and more than doubled its P25-54 audience (+101%/207k);
Nancy Grace/Nancy Grace Mysteries (8 p.m. ET) up +34% in P2+ (530k) and +65% in P25-54 (221k);
Drew On Call/Mysteries (9 p.m. ET) posted the biggest P2+ (+76%/496k) and P25-54 (+104%/206k) gains amongst cable news in Prime;
HLN After Dark/Mysteries (10 p.m. ET) up +63% in P2+ (384k), and + 89% in demo (168k).

HLNtv.com, HLN’s online destination for users, posted gains in all key metrics over both the prior month and the prior year. July 2013 broke an all-time record with 7M unique visitors, up +23% from June, and +56% vs. July 2012. The site gathered 51M page views, up +33% vs. June, and up triple digits from July 2012. Additionally, video starts reached 4M, an increase of +16% from June, and +100% vs. July 2012. The site’s top article “George Zimmerman trial: 84 evidence photos” at 15M page views this month, and the top video was “Did the prosecution prove its case?” with 66k video starts. Source: Adobe SiteCatalyst Note: Current month’s data measured from 7/1/13 – 7/30/13. HLNtv.com launched in October 2011.