It’s been a strange end to October for CNN, and as much as Pres. Trump, his supporters and rival networks like to pick on the network, it actually had a pretty good month, ratings-wise.
CNN posted growth in total prime time viewers (+1 percent), top 10 finishes across basic cable in total viewers, and it defeated rival MSNBC in the prime time demo (adults 25-54) for the first time since August and by the widest margin since Sept. 2017.
On the downside, CNN was down in many other categories vs. October 2017. The network was -5 percent in total day viewers, -11 percent in the prime time demo (despite beating MSNBC) and -16 percent in the total day demo (again despite beating MSNBC). Nevertheless, its ratings are still way up from what CNN was drawing in “the aughts.”
The ratings for October, 2018 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):
- Prime time (Mon-Sun): 931,000 total viewers / 290,000 A25-54
- Total Day (Mon-Sun): 689,000 total viewers / 201,000 A25-54
On the programming side – The Lead with Jake Tapper, Anderson Cooper 360 and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon all posted the second largest October audiences on record, and ranked No. 2 in the A25-54 demo vs. their timeslot competition.
Additionally, Cuomo Prime Time has established itself as the No. 1 show on CNN. The program averaged 1.14 million total viewers in the 9 p.m. hour, which is the network’s third-largest 9 p.m. October audience since 2004.
Erin Burnett Outfront (7 p.m.) beat Hardball for the 5th straight month in the key A25-54 demo, and CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera ranked No.1 on Saturdays (3- 6 p.m.) beating both Fox News and MSNBC.
Lastly, on the CNN Original Series front, each episode of the final season (No. 12) of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown ranked No. 1 in cable news in the demo adults 25-54 on Sundays at 9 p.m. This is Life with Lisa Ling (Season 5) also ranked No. 1 in cable news this month on Sundays at 10 p.m. in the key A25-54 demo.
Here’s CNN’s October 2018 ratings release:
CNN TOPS MSNBC IN PRIME TIME, TOTAL DAY, DAYSIDE AND WEEKENDS
CNN HAS THIRD-BEST OCTOBER IN TEN YEARS
The Lead with Jake Tapper, Anderson Cooper 360 and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon All have Second-Highest October on Record
New Day, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer and Erin Burnett Outfront have
Third-Highest October on Record
Cuomo Prime Time is CNN’s Highest-Rated News Program in October;
Delivers the Network’s Third-Highest 9pm October Viewership Since 2004
CNN Ranks as a Top 10 Network in All of Cable for 10th Consecutive Month
With the Nielsen month of October ending on Sunday (10/28), CNN topped MSNBC in all dayparts including prime time, total day, dayside and on weekends among adults 25-54. In primetime, CNN beat MSNBC in adults 25-54 (295k vs. 286k), for the first time since August and by the largest margin since September 2017. In total day, CNN has now surpassed MSNBC for 52 straight months in the key demographic 25-54 (202k vs. 162k), the longest monthly streak since January 2010. In dayside, CNN dominated MSNBC for a record breaking 56 straight months in the coveted demographic adults 25-54 (212k vs. 149k). All of CNN’s daytime programs (9am-4pm) posted higher 25-54 audiences than MSNBC.
CNN also outperformed MSNBC on weekends in total day among adults 25-54 (164k vs. 90k) and total viewers (568k vs. 491k). And in weekend prime time, CNN topped MSNBC in the key demo 25-54 (213k vs. 86k) and total viewers (631k vs. 509k). From 3-6pm on Saturdays, CNN was #1 in cable news in the demo. The network also beat MSNBC for 24 out of 24 hours on Saturdays. On Sundays, CNN was #1 from 9-11pm and topped MSNBC for 23 out of 24 hours in October.
CNN ended the month with the network posting its third-best October ratings in total day since 2008 in both total viewers (691k) and the demo 25-54 (202k) – just after 2016 and 2017. The network also had its third-highest October prime time performance since 2012 in total viewers (943k), following 2016 and 2015. In daytime, CNN posted its third-highest October in 16 years (since 2002) in total viewers (837k) and in 10 years (since 2008) among adults 25-54 (212k)– after 2016 and 2017.
Among ALL cable networks, CNN ranked #7 in total viewers in total day this month. This marks the tenth straight month that CNN is a Top 10 cable network among total viewers in total day. In M-F prime time, CNN ranked #8 in total viewers, making this the fourth straight month that CNN ranks as a Top 10 cable network.
CNN News Program Highlights:
- New Day with Alisyn Camerota and John Berman (6-9am) had its third-highest October on record among both adults 25-54 (168k) and total viewers (542k) just after 2017 and 2016. This is also the overall network’s third-highest October on record since 2008 in both total viewers and the demo 25-54.
- The Lead with Jake Tapper (4pm) easily topped MSNBC in the key demo (255k vs. MSNBC’s 199k) for the fourth straight month. This is The Lead’s second-highest October on record among total viewers (975k; after 2017) and third-highest October on record (after 2017 and 2016) among 25-54 (255k). This is also the overall network’s second-best October 4pm performance in 10 years (since 2008) in total viewers and third-best among adults 25-54.
- The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer also outperformed MSNBC at both 5pm (262k vs. 192k) and at 6pm (283k vs. 211k) for the fifth straight month among adults 25-54. The Blitzer-led program has now topped MSNBC for 11 of the past 12 months. This is CNN’s third-highest October in ten years in both total viewers and adults 25-54 at both 5pm and 6pm.
- Erin Burnett Outfront (7pm) beat MSNBC’s Hardball for the fifth straight month, ranking #2 in cable news among adults 25-54 (298k vs. 237k). This is EBOF’s third-highest October on record in the demo 25-54 (298k) and total viewers (925k) behind 2017 and 2016. This is also the overall network’s third-best October 7pm performance in 10 years (since 2008) in both total viewers and adults 25-54.
- Anderson Cooper 360 (8pm) drew more viewers than MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes in the key demo adults 25-54 (322k vs. 272k) for the fourth straight month. This is AC 360’s second-best October on record among total viewers (1.094 million; behind only 2016) and third-best in the demo (322k) just after 2017 and 2016. This is also the network’s overall second-best 8pm October performance since 2008 among total viewers and third best among adults 25-54.
- Cuomo Prime Time (9pm) was CNN’s #1 news program in October in both adults 25-54 (347k) and total viewers (1.137million). Cuomo Prime Time has been CNN’s top-rated news program for the past five months, since the show launched in June. The Cuomo-led program was also up +11% in total viewers vs. the 9pm time period a year ago. Cuomo delivered the network’s third-highest 9pm October ratings since 2004 in total viewers and since 2008 among adults 25-54.
- CNN Tonight with Don Lemon (10pm) had its second-best October ratings ever among total viewers (994k; behind only 2016) and third best October ever in the demo 25-54 (323k) behind last year and 2016. This was also the overall network’s second-highest 10pm October performance among total viewers and third-highest in the demo in 10 years (since 2008, behind only 2017 and 2016).
On Sunday mornings, Inside Politics with John King (8-9am), State of the Union with Jake Tapper (9-10am, Noon), Fareed Zakaria GPS (10-11am, 1pm) and Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter (11am-Noon) all posted more viewers in the key demo 25-54 than MSNBC, ranking #2 in cable news.
CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera ranked #1 on Saturdays (3-6pm). Other key CNN programs including Early Start with Christine Romans and Dave Briggs, CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto, At This Hour with Kate Bolduan, Inside Politics with John King (M-F 12p-1p) Wolf, CNN Newsroom with Brooke Baldwin, Smerconish, The Van Jones Show, S.E. Cupp Unfiltered, and New Day on weekends all easily surpassed MSNBC this month, posting higher demo 25-54 audiences.
October Monthly Tracker: Key Demographic Adults 25-54
October Monthly Tracker: Total Viewers
CNN Original Series Highlights:
Also this month, each episode of the final season (12) of Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown ranked #1 in cable news in the demo adults 25-54 on Sundays at 9pm. Across the premiere episodes so far this season, the program averaged 366k among adults 25-54, MSNBC had 125k and Fox had 265k. 2018-to-date, Parts Unknown ranks #2 among the Top 10 non-fiction Food & Travel series in ALL of cable in the key demo 25-54.
This is Life with Lisa Ling (Season 5) also ranked #1 in cable news this month on Sundays at 10pm in the key demo adults 25-54 averaging 325k, MSNBC had 78k and Fox had 241k among adults 25-54.
Out-of-Home (OOH) Viewing October, 2018:
- Since Jul’18, CNN’s total day is averaging a 7.9% lift among 25-54 (+17) with OOH viewers.
- Month-to-date (thru 10/7), CNN’s is averaging its 2nd highest OOH lift (+7.5%; +17k).
- Among all reportable OOH cable networks, CNN ranks #2 (+17k) with OOH viewers gained, behind only ESPN #1 (+27k).
Digital Lift October, 2018:
- Average digital lift to TV for October was 2.2%, the second-highest month this year behind August.
- CNN garnered interest for its Texas Senate Town Hall (2.37% lift) and the Debate Night: Florida Governor’s Debate (1.36% lift).