May Ratings: CNN Beats MSNBC In Total Day

By SteveK 

CNN finished May as the second-rated cable news network in total day, Total Viewers and the A25-54 demo. FNC finished first.

It was the second best May for Total Viewers by CNN in a decade, behind last year. CNN’s American Morning finished 2nd in Total Viewers and the demo, while Larry King Live was 2nd in Total Viewers at 9pmET. Anderson Cooper 360 was #2 in Total Viewers and demo at 10pmET.

Fareed Zakaria: GPS was #1 at 1pmET on Sunday in the demo.


Click continued to see CNN’s release…


In May, CNN easily outperformed third place MSNBC in total day in both total viewers and in the demo 25-54. For the month, CNN averaged 535k total viewers, an impressive 41% advantage over MSNBC’s 379k, and posted 154k in 25-54, 11% ahead of MSNBC’s 139k. May also represents CNN’s second best total viewer performance in a decade among total viewers with 535k, second only to last year’s peak of 577k during the prolonged primary season.

In the morning, CNN’s American Morning (6a-9a) topped MSNBC’s Morning Joe (6a-9a) by 4% (428k vs. 411k) among total viewers in May and by 6% (147k vs. 139k) among P25-54. In addition, Morning Joe placed fourth in the demo, with HLN’s Morning Express with Robin Meade (6a-10a) topping it by 7% (149k vs. 139k) among P25-54.

CNN’s Larry King Live is ahead of MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow at 9p (1.0 mil vs. 902k) in total viewers and at 10p, Anderson Cooper tops MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann in total viewers, (798k vs. 662k) and in the demo 25-54 (223k vs. 213k).

Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer tops MSNBC’s Chris Matthews and Ed Schultz at 4p, 5p and 6p in both total viewers and in the demo 25-54. On Sunday, State of the Union with John King outperforms MSNBC at 9a, 10a, 11a and noon in total viewers and the demo, and Fareed Zakaria: GPS is #1 at 1p in the demo with 191k, FNC follows with 188k and MSNBC had 123k.


In May, HLN (formerly Headline News) experienced the largest M-Su and M-F Prime growth among cable news networks, up 43% among P2+ (619k vs. 434k) and 40% among P25-54 (220k vs. 157k) vs. year-ago in M-F Prime. HLN is up 41% in M-Su prime among P2+ (536k vs. 379k) and 41% among P25-54 (193k vs. 137k) vs. year-ago.

Nancy Grace posted the best May performance at 8p in the network’s 27-year history among total viewers and the 25-54 demo. Nancy Grace also topped MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann in growth up 72% among total viewers and up 84% among 25-54 while Countdown with Keith Olbermann is flat among total viewers and down 23%. Additionally, this is also the best May in HLN’s history at 11p for Showbiz Tonight with 389k among total viewers and 189k among P25-54, increasing 4% and 7% respectively over year ago.

Morning Express with Robin Meade (6a-10a) topped MSNBC’s Morning Joe by 7% (149k vs. 139k) among P25-54 in May and is the #1 morning show among 18-34 viewers for the month in cable news.

CNN and HLN 2009 to-date

Year-to-date, CNN continues to grow – increasing 12% in total viewers and is up 3% in the demo 25-54. CNN’s year-to-date average represents the best total day performance in total viewers (676,000) and in the demo (209,000) in six years (since 2003/Iraq war). YTD, CNN’s advantage over MSNBC in total day is 53% among total viewers and 27% in the demo. In primetime (M-Su), CNN tops MSNBC by 13% in total viewers and in M-F prime, has a 5% advantage among total viewers. YTD at 10 pm, Anderson Cooper is having its second best performance ever in both total viewers and in the demo 25-54 (last year’s election coverage was the program’s best).

HLN has the largest M-Su and M-F Prime growth among cable news networks, up 49% in M-Su Prime among P2+ (622k vs. 418k) and 55% among P25-54 (245k vs. 158k) vs. year-ago. Among M-F Prime, HLN is up 54% among P2+ (735k vs. 476k) and 60% among P25-54 (288k vs. 180k) vs. year-ago.


CNN continues to reach more viewers each month in May with 61,702,000 cumulative total viewers, surpassing FNC’s 54,796,000, and MSNBC’s 49,139,000. HLN averaged 47,239,000

Among 25-54 cumulative viewers, CNN outranked the competition with 27,511,000, MSNBC averaged 23,871,000, FNC averaged 23,342,000 and while HLN averaged 22,401,000.


In April, CNN Digital Network continued its long-standing trend as the #1 most used online news destination with 1.4 billion total usage minutes (1,395 billion), exceeding MSNBC’s 1.0 billion usage minutes by 38% and Fox News Digital’s 652 million by 114%. The CNN Digital Network also outranked Yahoo! News, The New York Times, ABCNews Digital and CBSNews Digital. Additionally, CNN Digital’s usage was up 10% over April 2008. (Source: Nielsen Online, P2+ Home/Work Panel April 2009).

April CNN Digital Network Highlights:

CNN Digital also had the most committed and dedicated audience in April as measured by time spent per person (37.5 minutes per person) and pages-per-person (42 pages per person).
CNN Digital was the #1 online news source for video in April with more than 112 million video streams served, 5% ahead of MSNBC’s 107 million and 78% ahead of Yahoo! News’ 63 million. (Source: Nielsen Video Census April ’09).
CNN Digital was #1 among all News and Information sites in total time spent viewing and time spent per viewer in April and ranked 6th among all brands in unique visitors and 10th in total streams