Q1 2008 Ratings: MSNBC @ 7, 8 & 9

By Chris Ariens 

In addition to MSNBC tying for second in the A25-54 demo in prime time for the month of March, the network experienced a 63% year-to-year increase in weekday prime time, averaging 885,000 Total Viewers. The network’s top-rated show, Countdown with Keith Olbermann is up 52% in Total Viewers and up 73% in the A25-54 demo. Hardball (at 7pmET) had its best Total Viewer delivery since the fourth quarter of 2001. The new Dan Abrams show “Verdict” (at 9pET) averaged 827,000 Total Viewers, “the best ever total in that time-period,” says MSNBC.

The press release is after the jump…


In Primetime, A True 3-Way Race in Cable News

Net Delivers Best-Ever Primetime Viewership in 1Q08

Olbermann Beats Campbell Brown in First Month of Head-to-Head Competition

NEW YORK – April 1, 2008 – MSNBC ends March 2008 tied for #2 in primetime in the advertiser-friendly 25-54 demographic, the best monthly finish for MSNBC compared to CNN since May 2001. In primetime, there is a true three-way race in cable news, with only 66,000 viewers A25-54 separating first and second place. MSNBC also delivered its best-ever quarterly weekday primetime ratings in 1Q08 in total viewers, and best in the 25-54 demographic since 4Q01. Additionally, MSNBC’s top-rated “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” bested CNN at 8 p.m. in March, the first month of head-to-head competition with Campbell Brown, according to Nielsen Research time-period data.

• In March, MSNBC averaged 333,000 viewers 25-54 in primetime (M-Su), tied with CNN for the month, the network’s best performance vs. CNN since May 2001. This represents a 90% increase over March 2007 (333,000 vs. 175,000). CNN was up 58% (333,000 vs. 211,000) and Fox News was up only 9% (399,000 vs. 366,000); additionally, MSNBC delivered its largest share of the cable news primetime audience in the demographic (27%) since August 2001.

• In weekday primetime, MSNBC scored its highest ever viewership this quarter, averaging 885,000 total viewers for 1Q08, a 63% increase from 1Q07.

• MSNBC wrapped up the quarter averaging 322,000 Adults 25-54 in primetime (M-Su), up 65% from 1Q07 (322,000 vs. 195,000) and 777,000 in total viewers, an increase of 57% vs. 1Q07 (777,000 vs. 495,000). MSNBC was the second fastest growing ad-supported cable channel in weeknight primetime in both total viewers and the 25-54 demographic.

• Keith Olbermann continues to top CNN in March, the first month of head-to-head competition with Campbell Brown. “Countdown” averaged 1,080,000 total viewers, up 52% from March 07 (1,080,000 vs. 710,000) and 382,000 in the 25-54 demographic, up an amazing 73% from March 07 (382,000 vs. 221,000). For the month, CNN averaged 995,000 total viewers and 325,000 in 25-54. The quarter was “Countdown’s” best-ever, delivering 1,033,000 total viewers and 386,000 adults 25-54.

• “Hardball with Chris Matthews” delivered its best total viewer delivery since 4Q01 at 7 p.m. (637,000), and its best performance among A25-54 since 1Q03 (222,000). “Hardball” was up 31% among Adults 25-54 vs. 1Q07, and up 39% among total viewers.

• At 9 p.m., where MSNBC recently relaunched “Verdict with Dan Abrams,” the network averaged 827,000 total viewers in 1Q08, the best ever total in that time-period, and 322,000 Adults 25-54, the best demo delivery since 4Q01. The network also saw bigger gains than either CNN or FNC at this hour, with a 61% increase in total viewers vs. 1Q07 (827,000 vs. 513,000).

• At 10 p.m., MSNBC earned its best ever total viewer delivery for the quarter, averaging 794,000 P2+, up 97% vs. 1Q07, and its best Adults 25-54 delivery since 4Q01 (354,000), up 93% compared to 1Q07. MSNBC recently began re-airing “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” at 10 p.m.; previously, MSNBC’s “doc block” aired at this hour.

• At 11 p.m., MSNBC’s “Doc Block” averaged 562,000 total viewers in 1Q08 and 273,000 A25-54, the best totals for the time period since 4Q01. Versus 1Q07, MSNBC was up 51% among total viewers, and up 43% among Adults 25-54.