May ’10 Ratings: CNN Still Down, But Slightly Less So

By Alex Weprin 

CNN continues to slip in the ratings year to year, but the drop is less steep than the one it faced in April. Breaking news events including the Gulf oil spill kept viewers interested. The raw numbers:

Total day (Mon-Sun): 446k total/149k A25-54
Prime (Mon-Sun): 596k total/170k A25-54

In the 25-54 demo CNN is down -3% in total day and down -13% in primetime, in total viewers the network is down -16% in total day and down -23% in primetime. By comparison, the network was down between 35-40% in both categories last month.

“American Morning” was down -17% in total viewers and flat in the demo, finishing third in both. In total viewers it bested HLN’s “Morning Express” and in the demo it topped MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”

“Rick’s List” was down -23% and -31% in total viewers in its 3-5pmET timeslot, but posted 2% growth in the demo at 3 p.m., and a 7% decline in the demo at 4. The program was down more than 40% in both categories last month.

“The Situation Room,” bolstered by hard news like the Gulf oil spill, posted growth in the demo during both the 5 and 6 p.m. hours, up +16% and +4% respectively.

“John King U.S.A.” was down -30% in total viewers and -14% in the demo, an improvement over last month when it was down -48% and -52%.

The soon-to-be departing “Campbell Brown” was down -24% in total viewers and -7% in the demo, while “Larry King Live” dropped 35% and 30% in the categories.

“AC360” was down -15% and -19% in total viewers for its 10 and 11p.m. hours, and was down -8% and -12% in the demo.

The CNN release is after the jump.


One Year and Counting, HLN Continues to Top MSNBC in the Morning; The Joy Behar Show has Most Growth in May


CNN Digital Delivers More Unique Users than MSNBC Digital or Fox News Digital


CNN: 97.2 million viewers Fox News: 87.1 million viewers MSNBC: 82.2 million viewers

CNN Digital: 36.5 million users Fox News Digital: 14.7 million users MSNBC Digital: 30.1 million users

HLN: 86.7 million viewers

**Based on Monthly Unique TV Viewers in May and Latest Monthly Digital Users (April)


In May, CNN was the only cable news network to grow in M-F primetime vs. last month in the key demo adults 25-54. In M-F primetime, CNN grew +12%, while FNC declined -8% and MSNBC lost -9% of its audience. In total day, CNN increased +21%, FNC was down -1% and MSNBC was up +2% vs. April. John King USA and the Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (5p) grew an impressive +43% compared to last month. May represents John King USA’s best full month since launch.

CNN also topped MSNBC in total day by +14% among total viewers (446k vs. 390k) and by +13% the key demo adults 25-54 (149k vs. 132k). During the daytime (M-F 9am-5pm) in head-to-head comparisons with MSNBC’s non-opinion news programming – CNN posted a +74% advantage in total viewers (506k vs. 291k) and more than doubled MSNBC with a +111% advantage among 25-54 viewers (152k vs. 72k). MSNBC placed fourth or fifth every hour of the day in the demo 25-54, except at 4p where they placed third behind Rick’s List. In May, both hours of Rick’s List (3p and 4p) had their best full month to date among P25-54 since the show’s launch in late January.

The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer is up year-over-year in the key demo adults 25-54 at both 5p and 6p. At 5p, the Situation Room grew its audience by +16% in the demo compared to a year ago, topping Hardball in both total viewers (603k vs. 550k) and in the key demo adults 25-54 (176k vs. 130k). The program also rose +4% and topped The Ed Show in 25-54 at 6p.

In addition, CNN’s two flagship Sunday shows, State of the Union with Candy Crowley and GPS Fareed Zakaria grew double-digits compared to a year ago. At 9a, State of the Union increased +22% in the key demo 25-54, while FNC was up only +1% and MSNBC dropped -29%. Zakaria at 10a rose +20% in the demo, FNC increased +1% and MSNBC’s audience fell -21%.


HLN’s Morning Express with Robin Meade continues to roll over MSNBC’s Morning Joe among 25-54 viewers, leading by +46% in May, (174k vs 119k). May marks the 14th consecutive month that Morning Express with Robin Meade has topped MSNBC’s Morning Joe. Morning Express also posted the most growth of any cable news show in the morning in May, up +17% in total viewers and up +10% among 25-54 viewers.

The Joy Behar Show at 9p has double digit growth among both total viewers and the demo–the most total viewer growth of any cable news show in May–up +34% versus same time year ago (542k vs. 404k). It was also up +17% versus May 2009 (151k vs. 129k) among 25-54 viewers.


In May, all of Fox News’ primetime programs posted their worst 25-54 demo deliveries in a year or more. May represents The O’Reilly Factor’s worst performance since January 2009, Hannity’s lowest delivery to date since taking over the time period in January 2009 and On the Record’s lowest since May 2009. Fox Report with Shep Smith had its lowest demo delivery since December 2008.

FNC declines were also substantial when comparing May to the their recent peak at beginning of the year (January 2010), with the network’s audience falling off by 20-35% every hour of the day in the demo except “Fox and Friends,” which was down -8% and their 1-3p block which fell -15%. FNC’s M-F primetime audience dropped by -26% in total viewers (2.17m vs. 2.95m) and -30% in the demo (554k vs. 795k). Also on the decline was FNC’s Glenn Beck, which as lost -26% of its total viewer audience and -23% in the demo. Other double-digit demo losses included the 9a hour (down -22%), 10a (-21%), 11a (-27%), Noon (-28%), Studio B/Smith at 3p (-28%), Cavuto at 4p, (-29%), Bret Baier at 6p (-24%), Fox Report/Smith at 7p (-29%), O’Reilly at 8p (-30%), Hannity at 9p (-35%) and Greta at 10p (-29%).

In May, MSNBC also experienced demo declines compared to a year ago. In M-F primetime, MSNBC is down -16%, while Olbermann at 8p lost 24% of his audience. In addition, during the day (9a-5p) MSNBC is now averaging just a scant 72k viewers among adults 25-54.


In April, CNN Digital ranked No. 1 among ALL Current Events and Global News sites in several key metrics, beating properties such as MSNBC Digital, Yahoo! News and Fox News Digital.

* No. 1 in Total Usage Minutes: 825 million minutes, 292 million more than No. 2 MSNBC Digital and 325 million more than No. 3 Yahoo! News.

* No. 1 in Video Streams: 115 million total streams, beating No. 2 MSNBC Digital by 1.7 million streams. CNN Digital was also No. 1 among all News & Information Sites. (Source: Nielsen VideoCensus, April-10)
* No. 1 in Time Per Person: 22.6 minutes, the highest time spent among the top 20 News and Information sites.

* No. 1 in Page Views: 1.2 billion page views, 13% ahead of No. 2 Wikipedia and 51% more than No. 3 Weather Channel. (Source: Nielsen Online Netview, Apr-10)
* No. 1 on Mobile: With 14.7 million unique visitors to its mobile site in March, CNN Digital beat the nearest competitor, Yahoo! News by 140%. This is the 39th consecutive month that CNN Digital has topped the news and current events category. (Source: Nielsen Mobile MediaView – March 2010. Note: April data not available at the time of this release)
* No. 1 in Audience among all TV News Sites: When compared to its cable news competition, CNN Digital topped them all in terms of unique audience. With 36.5 million unique visitors in April, CNN Digital’s audience was 21% larger than MSNBC Digital (30.1 million) and 148% larger than Fox News Digital (14.7 million).