November 2018 Ratings: MSNBC Is a Top 5 Cable Network, And Drawing More Total Viewers Than CNN

By A.J. Katz Comment

MSNBC continues to deliver huge audiences, both in prime time as well as during weekday morning and afternoon hours.

For the month of November 2018, –a midterm election month– NBC’s politics-focused cable news network posted posted year-over-year total audience growth, topped rival CNN in total viewers across all relevant dayparts and weekday time slots (5 a.m. – 3 a.m.), and remains one of the five-most-watched basic cable networks across the 24-hour daypart, in dayside (Mon – Fri, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and in the key prime time daypart (8 – 11 p.m.).

The network was +9 percent in total prime time viewers, and +9 percent in total day viewers vs. last November.

Yet as well as MSNBC is performing from a total audience perspective, the network is losing younger news consumers –especially the A25-54 demo that advertisers base their spend on– at a more rapid rate than its cable news competitors.

The network was -11 percent in the prime time demo, and -13 percent in the total day demo vs. last November. Its competition posted year-over-year growth in the prime time demo.

Something worth keeping an eye on.

The numbers for November, 2018 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 1,835,000 total viewers / 332,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun):  1,475,000 total viewers / 181,000 A25-54

On the programming front – Hosted by newly-weds Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, Morning Joe continues to beat its CNN time slot competition. In November, MJ averaged a larger total audience than CNN New Day for the 45th consecutive month, and a larger A25-54 audience for the 13th consecutive month.

Rachel Maddow continues to carry MSNBC in prime time, and TRMS defeated its CNN timeslot competition across the board for the 22nd consecutive month. Maddow ranked No. 2 across cable news in November in total viewers. She finished behind Tucker Carlson in adults 25-54, and behind Sean Hannity in total viewers.

Their programs have lead-in audiences that usually dwarf Maddow’s lead-in audience, yet her show still regularly finishes in either first or second place in those notable measurements. Pretty impressive.

Last but not least, there’s Brian Williams, who quietly has established himself as the most-watched cable news host in his 11 p.m. hour, and finished ahead of both Fox News @ Night and CNN Tonight for the month of November.

Here’s MSNBC’s November 2018 ratings release:

MSNBC ON PACE FOR BEST YEAR EVER, ONLY CABLE NEWS NETWORK TO POST YEAR-OVER-YEAR TOTAL VIEWER GROWTH ACROSS DAYSIDE AND TOTAL DAY

In November, MSNBC Dominates CNN in Total Viewers Across Every Key Daypart and Weekdays Every Hour from 5am to 3am

MSNBC Ranks #2 Across Total Day (M-Su 6am-6am), Dayside (9am-5pm), and Prime (8-11pm) Year to-Date, Achieving Growth Across All Three Dayparts

“Morning Joe” Continues its Winning Streak, Beating CNN in A25-54 for 13th Straight Month and Total Viewers for 45th Straight Month in November

“The Rachel Maddow Show” Bests CNN in A25-54 for 22nd Consecutive Month and Total Viewers for 66th Consecutive Month in November

“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” is #1 at 11pm, Topping FOX News and CNN in November

“AM Joy” on Saturdays and “Kasie DC” on Sundays Top CNN in Total Viewers in November

NEW YORK (November 28, 2018) – MSNBC is on pace for a record year in total viewers across all key dayparts including prime (M-F 8-11pm), dayside (M-F 9am-5pm), and total day (M-Su 6am-6am), according to Nielsen ratings data for January 1 to November 25, 2018. Year to-date, MSNBC has posted year-over-year growth in total viewers in all three key dayparts and was the only cable news network to grow in total viewers during dayside and total day, while both FOX News and CNN declined. In prime, MSNBC was up +10% (vs. CNN’s -4% and FOX News’ +4%) in total viewers; in total day, MSNBC was up +12% (vs. CNN’s -10% and FOX News’ -3%); and in dayside, MSNBC was up +17% (vs. CNN’s -8% and FOX News’ -9%). In addition, year to-date, MSNBC was the only cable news network to post year-over-year growth in A25-54 in dayside, up +6% (vs. CNN’s -15% and FOX News -14%).

Year to-date, MSNBC currently ranks #2 in total viewers across all of cable television for prime, dayside, and total day. MSNBC leads #3 ESPN and #8 CNN in prime. MSNBC topped #3 Nickelodeon and #4 CNN in dayside. MSNBC also bested #4 HGTV and #7 CNN in total day.

For the month of November, MSNBC dominated CNN in total viewers, beating CNN in total day, dayside, and prime. MSNBC also topped CNN every weekday hour from 5am to 3am. In total day, MSNBC ranked #4 in total viewers across all of cable television (ahead of #5 Nickelodeon and #6 CNN) and bested CNN for the 21st straight month (1.02M vs. CNN’s 761,000). In dayside, MSNBC ranked #2 in total viewers across all of cable (ahead of #3 CNN and #4 Nickelodeon) and topped CNN in total viewers for the 14th straight month (1.08M vs. CNN’s 882,000). In prime, MSNBC ranked #3 in total viewers across all of cable (ahead of #4 Hallmark and #5 CNN) and beat CNN in total viewers for the 24th straight month (2.29M vs. CNN’s 1.34M).

“Morning Joe” at 6am continued its winning streak, beating CNN in both A25-54 and total viewers in November. In total viewers, “Morning Joe” topped CNN for the 45th straight month, almost doubling CNN (1.17M vs. CNN’s 611,000). In A25-54, “Morning Joe” bested CNN for the 13th straight month (211,000 vs. CNN’s 192,000).

“The Rachel Maddow Show” at 9pm topped CNN in A25-54 for the 22nd consecutive month (525,000 vs. CNN’s 378,000) and in total viewers for the 66th consecutive month (2.9M vs. CNN’s 1.28M) in November.

“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” at 11pm was #1 in total viewers for the hour in November, beating FOX News and CNN. “The 11th Hour” averaged 1.66M total viewers (vs. FOX News’ 1.54M and CNN’s 877,000).

In November, every hour of MSNBC’s weekday programming from 5am to 3am topped CNN in total viewers, including: “Morning Joe First Look” at 5am for the 13th straight month; “Morning Joe” from 6-9am for the 45th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” at 9am for the 22nd straight month; “MSNBC Live with Hallie Jackson” at 10am for the 14th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Craig Melvin” at 11am for the 2nd straight month; “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 12pm for the 17th straight month; “MSNBC Live with Velshi & Ruhle” at 1pm for the 2nd straight month; “MSNBC Live with Katy Tur” at 2pm;  “MSNBC Live with Ali Velshi” at 3pm for the 13th straight month; “Deadline: White House” at 4pm for the 14th straight month; “MTP Daily” at 5pm for the 19th straight month; “The Beat with Ari Melber” at 6pm for the 17th straight month; “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7pm for the 28th straight month; “All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm for the 24th straight month; “The Rachel Maddow Show” at 9pm for the 66th straight month; “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm for the 42nd straight month; and “The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” at 11pm for the 28th straight month.

On Saturdays, “AM Joy” at 10am topped CNN in total viewers for the 14th month in a row. On Sundays, “Kasie DC” at 7pm beat CNN in total viewers for the 8th month in a row.

NOTE: Year to-date ratings are based on Nielsen Live+Same data day for 1/1/18-11/25/18. November 2018 ratings are based on Nielsen Live+Same data day for 10/29/18-11/25/18. Individual show data represents regular programming only, excluding specials and breaking news.

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