Q1 2010 Ratings: CNN Sees Double Digit Drop from Year Ago

By kevin 

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CNN saw the largest across-the-board decreases of any cable network in Q1 compared to last year, though the network did improve over the final quarter of 2009.

Total day (Mon-Sun): 507K Total / 149K A25-54
Prime (Mon-Sun): 690K Total / 200K A25-54

Year-to-year, CNN was down -39% in primetime Total Viewers (-42% in the demo).

In Q1 total day, CNN was down -31% in Total Viewers (-37% demo), but remains the number two network ahead of MSNBC and well behind Fox News. For the month of March, MSNBC pulled ahead of CNN in the demo.

The NYTimes’ Bill Carter writes today, “CNN had a slightly worse quarter in the fourth quarter of 2009, but the last three months have included compelling news events, like the earthquake in Haiti and the battle over health care, and CNN, which emphasizes its hard news coverage, was apparently unable to benefit.”

Campbell Brown and Larry King had their lowest rated quarters ever in Total Viewers and King also had his worst in the A25-54 demo. Anderson Cooper was also down — more than -40% in Total Viewers and the demo.

“Rick’s List,” which launched in January, is down -42% in Total Viewers (-49% demo) compared to the same time slot in Q1 of last year, but is besting “MSNBC Live” and “Dylan Ratigan” on MSNBC in Total Viewers and the demo.

In CNN’s release after the jump, the network points to its month-to-month primetime growth in March.




First Quarter 2010

For the first quarter 2010, CNN outperformed MSNBC in both total day (M-Su/6a-6a) and nearly doubled MSNBC during the day (M-F/9a-5p) among total viewers and the key demographic adults 25-54. During the quarter — in total day, CNN averaged 507k total viewers, a 27% advantage over MSNBC’s 398k, and posted 150k in the demo 25-54, 9% more than MSNBC’s 137k. During non-opinion programming (M-F 9a until 5p) in head-to-head comparisons, CNN attracted 578k total viewers and 139k among adults 25-54, easily topping MSNBC’s 305k and 74k respectively. MSNBC placed 4th or 5th each hour of the day during the first quarter among adults 25-54.

Compared to the prior quarter (Q4 2009), CNN grew its audience across several key dayparts, including total day, dayside (M-F 9a-5p) and M-F and M-Su primetime. In total day, CNN is up 6% in total viewers and increased 11% in the demo adults 25-54; during dayside, CNN rose 3% and 5% respectively; in weekday primetime (M-F) the network is essentially even in total viewers and increased 6% in adults 25-54; and during M-Su primetime the network was up 3% in total viewers and grew 8% in 25-54.

First quarter program highlights:

CNN’s AC 360 outperformed MSNBC’s Countdown at 10p among total viewers (728k vs. 598k) and adults 25-54 (227k vs. 197k)

CNN’s American Morning outperformed 4th place Morning Joe in adults 25-54 (133k vs. 108k)

CNN’s Rick’s List topped MSNBC Live at 3p among total viewers (596k vs. 306k) and adults 25-54 (132k vs, 72k) and Dylan Radigan at 4p among total viewers (624k vs. 322k) and adults 25-54 (128k vs. 76k)

CNN’s Situation Room bested Hardball at 5p among total viewers (661k vs. 525k) and adults 25-54 (149k vs. 96k), The Ed Show at 6p among total viewers (618k vs. 547k) and adults 25-54 (156k vs. 116k) and Hardball at 7p among total viewers and adults 25-54 (157k vs. 151k)

March 2010

In March, CNN also outperformed MSNBC in total day among total viewers (460k vs. 400k). During the day (9a-5p), CNN had a 63% advantage over MSNBC in total viewers (501k vs. 308k) and a 57% lead in the demo 25-54 (119k vs. 76k) in head-to-head non opinion programming.

CNN – the only non partisan cable news network in primetime – grew its M-F primetime audience more than the other cable news nets compared to last month (February 2010/M-F). In M-F primetime among total viewers, CNN was up 11%, while FNC and MSNBC increased only 4% and 9% respectively, and in the demo 25-54, CNN increased 11%, more than FNC’s 5% increase, while MSNBC was up only 1%. And in M-Su primetime, CNN was up 23% in total viewers and increased 21% in the key demo.

Specifically in March, compared to last month (Feb. 2010) – Anderson Cooper (10p) grew an impressive 28% in total viewers and was up 17% in adults 25-54. Larry King (9p) was up 1% in total viewers and 9% in 25-54 and Campbell Brown (8p) rose 7% in total viewers and increased 3% in the key demo adults 25-54.


On an average monthly basis for Q1 2010, CNN again topped the competition with a reach of 104 million, ahead of FNC (94 million), MSNBC (90.2 million) and HLN (88.3 million).

In March, CNN remained ahead of all cable news competition in reach with 93.2 million viewers, followed by FNC (87.5 million), HLN (80.8 million) and MSNBC (78.7 million).