In July 2021, CNN saw ratings growth from June in most measurements, ranked as one of cable TV’s 10-most-watched networks, and continues to beat MSNBC in the key A25-54 demo. On the downside, July 2021 is now also CNN’s lowest-rated month in total day demo since September 2014, with the network averaging 125,000 viewers in the daypart. CNN also averaged 856,000 total primetime viewers, 190,000 adults 25-54 in primetime and 596,000 total day viewers in July.
Relative to June 2021, CNN gained +7% in average total prime time viewers and +6% in the prime time demo from the prior month. That’s more month-to-month growth in primetime than the competition. The network delivered mixed results in total day, however. There was growth in total day viewers (+3%), but the network lost adults 25-54 in the 24-hour daypart (-6%).
Compared to July 2020 (which just so happened to be CNN’s most-watched July in 40 years), the network fell by -43% in average total prime time audience and shed -52% of its prime time demo audience. In total day, the network fell by -40% in average total viewers and -50% in the total day demo.
Lastly, compared with four years ago (July 2017), CNN is -4% in total primetime viewers but -36% in the primetime demo, -12% in total day viewers and -42% in the total day demo. A huge discrepancy between older viewers and younger ones.
The average Nielsen live + same day impressions for July 2021:
- Prime time (Mon.-Sun.): 856,000 total viewers / 190,000 A25-54
- Total Day (Mon.-Sun.): 596,000 total viewers / 125,000 A25-54
On the programming front, all CNN dayside programs (9 a.m.-4 p.m.) beat MSNBC in the A25-54 demo (but not in total viewers). CNN also beat MSNBC in the demo on weekdays at 8 p.m. (Anderson Cooper 360) and the network was No. 1 on cable during weekend primetime in the key demo.
Cuomo Primetime was CNN’s top show for July in total viewers, while AC360 was the network’s top show among adults 25-54.
Here’s the July 2021 CNN ratings press release, where the network touts its performance among adults 25-54:
CNN BEATS MSNBC IN PRIME TIME, TOTAL DAY, DAYSIDE AND WEEKENDS IN DEMO IN JULY;
RANKS #1 IN WEEKEND PRIME TIME IN 25-54
CNN is #1 in Cable News Year-to-Date among Adults 25-54
Erin Burnett Outfront, Anderson Cooper 360 Surpass MSNBC in the Key Demo 25-54; Don Lemon Tonight Ties with MSNBC
Cuomo Prime Time Posts CNN’s Highest Delivery in Total Viewers, AC 360 has Highest Demo Delivery
CNN’S Newest Original Series History of the Sitcom and Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury Rank #1 in Cable News
CNN once again surpassed MSNBC in all dayparts this month, including Total Day, M-Su prime time, dayside and on weekends in the key demographic adults 25-54 according to Nielsen data. The network also ranked #1 in cable news in weekend prime time in the demo 25-54. Year-to-date, CNN is the top-rated cable news network – outperforming MSNBC and FNC — in Total Day among 25-54 and is a top 10 cable network in total viewers across every daypart this month. CNN’s newest Original Series History of the Sitcom and Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury ranked #1 in cable news in July across all demos. CNN continues to have the youngest audience in cable news in Total Day and prime time and reaches the largest cumulative TV audience among both total viewers and 25-54 2021-to-date. CNN’s digital platforms are also having record numbers, making CNN the most watched and most used news and information brand in the world.
July 2021: Dayparts
• In Total Day (6am-6am), CNN easily surpassed MSNBC in the key demo adults 25-54 (127k vs. MSNBC’s 104k) in July. CNN has now topped MSNBC for the 20th consecutive month in Total Day demo 25-54.
• In Prime Time (M-Su 8-11pm), CNN beat MSNBC (195k vs. 172k) among adults 25-54 for the 10th straight month.
• During Dayside (9am-4pm), CNN outperformed MSNBC for the 89th consecutive month, averaging 146k vs. 107k.
• On Weekends, CNN ranked #1 in prime time (8-11pm) in the demo averaging 180k to FNC’S 174k to MSNBC’s 54k. CNN also topped MSNBC in weekend prime time among total viewers (861k vs 393k). In Total Day (6am-6am), CNN ranked #2 in cable news, topping MSNBC in both total viewers (563k vs. 421k) and among adults 25-54 (112k vs. 61k). All of CNN’s Sunday morning public affairs programs topped MSNBC in the demo 25-54 during July. CNN beat MSNBC for all 24 hours on Saturdays and Sundays in adults 25-54 this month.
(Of note: All CNN, FNC and MSNBC dayparts and programs are registering double-digits declines compared to July last year. As a news organization, CNN was up the most throughout last year’s busy news cycle and had heightened viewership during the coronavirus pandemic outbreak in 2020.)
Year to Date
CNN remains the #1 cable news network 2021-to-date with a commanding 39% of the 25-54 three network share in Total Day, to FNC’s 35% to MSNBC’s 26% share.
July Weekday Programming
• All CNN dayside programs (9am-4pm) beat MSNBC in the demo adults 25-54 including CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto (9-11am), At This Hour with Kate Bolduan (11am), Inside Politics with John King (noon), CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera (1pm) and CNN Newsroom with Alisyn Camerota and Victor Blackwell (2-4pm). New Day with John Berman and Brianna Keilar (6-9am) averaged 85k in the demo and 450k in total viewers, while Early Start with Christine Romans and Laura Jarrett (5-6am) outperformed MSNBC by +24% in the demo (56k vs 45k) in July.
• The Lead with Jake Tapper easily topped MSNBC this month at 4pm (162k vs. 145k, +12%) now for the 20th consecutive month. At 5pm, the Tapper-led program had a +21% advantage over MSNBC (175k vs. 145k) and has now surpassed them for the third straight month in the coveted demo adults 25-54.
• The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (6pm) outperformed MSNBC in July in the key demographic adults 25-54 (174k vs. 156k), posting a +12% advantage. The Blitzer-led program has now outperformed MSNBC for the 17th consecutive month.
• Erin Burnett Outfront (7pm) surpassed MSNBC’s ReidOut this month in the key demo 25-54 (190k vs. 171k) averaging an +11% lead. The Burnett-led program has now outperformed MSNBC for 24 consecutive months.
• Anderson Cooper 360 (8pm) easily topped All in With Chris Hayes (209k vs. 180k) in July, now beating MSNBC for the sixth 19th consecutive month in the demo 25-54. AC 360 was the highest rated program on the network in the key demo 25-54 (209k) this month.
• Cuomo Prime Time with Chris Cuomo delivered 203k in the key demo and 985k in total viewers. Cuomo Prime Time was CNN’s highest rated program in total viewers (985k) in July.
• Don Lemon Tonight delivered 185k in the key demo tying MSNBC’s The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell and 728k among total viewers at 10pm. The program has now tied or outperformed The Last Word for 10 consecutive months in the demo. At 11pm, the Lemon-led hour delivered 156k in the demo and 549k among total viewers.
July Weekend Programming
On Saturdays from 4-5pm and on Sundays at 4pm and from 7pm-1am, CNN was #1 in cable news – outperforming MSNBC and FNC. CNN also ranked #1 during weekend prime time in the key demo adults 25-54.
New Day Weekend with Christi Paul and Boris Sanchez surpassed MSNBC in cable news in either total viewers and/or the key demo adults 25-54 in its time period on Saturdays and Sundays. Smerconish topped MSNBC on Saturday mornings at 9am in the key demo 25-54 (101k vs. 79k). CNN Newsroom weekend anchors Jim Acosta, Pamela Brown and Fredricka Whitfield ranked either #1 or #2, outperforming MSNBC in each hour on Saturdays/Sundays in total viewers and 25-54.
On Sunday mornings, all CNN programs outperformed MSNBC this month. Inside Politics with Abby Phillip (8am) topped MSNBC in the demo (95k vs. 48k). State of the Union with Jake Tapper/Dana Bash (9am, noon) and Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter (11am) ranked #2 in cable news, topping MSNBC in both total viewers and the 25-54 demo. Fareed Zakaria GPS (10am) surpassed MSNBC in total viewers and the demo and at 1pm in the demo 25-54 (98k vs. 86k)
CNN Original Series and Special Programming Highlights
July/CNN Original Series
• History of the Sitcom (S1) CNN newest Original Series ranked #1 in cable news its time period in total viewers, adults 25-54 and among 18-34. The series averaged 360k among adults 25-54, 1.660 million in total viewers and 85k among 18-34 over its three Sunday night 9pm premiere episodes. The series outperformed MSNBC by triple digits in the demo 25-54 (+543%), in total viewers (+276%) and in younger viewers 18-34 (+844%). It outperformed FNC by double digits in total viewers (+43%) and by triple digits in the demo (+159%) and 18-34 (+254%). History of the Sitcom was also up triple digits across all the demos vs. the prior four Sundays and is seven years younger than FNC and five years younger than MSNBC’s audience during the time period.
• Jerusalem: City of Faith and Fury (S1) also premiered at #1 in cable news in total viewers (1.153 million), adults 25-54 (237k) and among younger viewers 18-34 (58k) on Sundays at 10pm. The series outperformed MSNBC by triple digits among 25-54 (+404%), total viewers (+192%) and quadruple digits among 18-34 (+1350%). It outperformed FNC by double digits among total viewers (+26%) and triple digits among 25-54 (+114%) and 18-34 (+263%). Jerusalem was up double digits vs. the prior four Sundays in the demo and total viewers (+14%) and younger viewers 18-34 (+18%). CNN’s audience is four years younger than FNC’s and three years younger than MSNBC during the series.
(Note: Original Series data above represents most recent Live+3 and Live+7 data)
• CNN Special: Where Have All the Theme Songs Gone? (7/25/21, 8pm), hosted by Don Lemon delivered 101k among 25-54 and 499k among total viewers, ranking #2 across cable news in its time period.
• CNN Special Report: Eating Planet Earth, the Future of your Food (7/23/21, 9pm), reported by CNN anchor and Chief Climate correspondent Bill Weir delivered 97k among adults 25-54 and 465k among total viewers.
• CNN Town Hall with President Joe Biden (7/21/21, 8-9:20pm), moderated by CNN anchor Don Lemon delivered 343k in the key demo and 1.563 million total viewers and ranked #2 in cable news in the demo and among total viewers, topping MSNBC in the time period ( 343k vs. 212k / 1.563m vs. 1.540m).
• CNN’s coverage of Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin Space Flight (Tuesday, 7/20/21, 9-9:30am) delivered 257k among 25-54 and 1.245m among total viewers, ranking #2 in both demos for the time period. During the press conference that followed (11:45a-12:30p), CNN delivered 178k among 25-54 and 759k among total viewers, also ranking #2 in the demo for the time period. Anderson Cooper’s prime time interview with Bezos (8p-8:15p) CNN delivered 200k among 25-54 and 861k among total viewers.
• CNN’s Fourth in America Special (7/4/21, 7pm), anchored by Dana Bash, Victor Blackwell, Ana Cabrera and Don Lemon ranked #1 across cable news among both total viewers and 25-54 during the full coverage block from 7pm-3am. The special also ranked #1 during FNC’s coverage block (8-10pM) among both demos (1.538m/329k) vs. FNV (1.241m/167k).
• State of America: A Fareed Zakaria GPS Special (Sunday, 7/4/21, 10-11am) delivered 125k among 25-54 and 669k among total viewers, ranking #2 in both 25-54 and total viewers for the time period.
All the cable news networks were down vs. last July due to the heightened news cycle of the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdown across the country last year.
In July 2021, CNN’s TV audience is two years younger than Fox and three years younger than MSNBC in total day. In M-Su prime CNN’s audience is three years younger than both FNC and MSNBC. FNC and MSNBC continue to pace at their oldest monthly median age on record.
Cable News TV Reach
CNN continues to reach the largest cumulative TV audience of any cable news network so far this year, making this the 20th consecutive year on record for the network.
2021-to-date CNN reaches more people in the US than any other news brand across TV and digital among adults 25-54 and adults 18-34.
Note that Comscore Xmedia data is delivered on a delayed schedule and therefore the above reflects Jan-Mar 2021.
Out of Home TV Lift:
3Q-21-to-date (through 7/11/21), CNN is averaging a +8% lift (or +45k) among total viewers and a +13% lift (or +15k) among adults 25-54 OOH viewers for a total of 641k and 136k, combined in-home and OOH total viewers and adults 25-54 respectively.
Digital to TV Lift:
CNN Digital viewing added a 2% lift (or average monthly 9k) to CNN’s P2+ 602 thousand total day TV audience for a total of 611 thousand across platforms in July, 2021.