Q1 2011 Ratings: MSNBC Has Best Quarter in Two Years

By Chris Ariens 

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While CNN took a bite out of MSNBC’s lead during news-heavy March, the NBC News channel kept its primetime winning streak alive against CNN for the quarter.

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 841K Total Viewers / 263K A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 454K Total Viewers / 152K A25-54

MSNBC beat CNN in primetime by 20% in total viewers (978,000 v. 814,000) in Q1 — the 6th consecutive quarterly win over CNN and MSNBC’s best delivery since Q1 2009. Year-over-year MSNBC primetime us up +16% in Total Viewers and up +13% in A25-54 viewers.

“Morning Joe” continues the lead over CNN and HLN in the morning. The MSNBC show beat CNN’s “American Morning” in Total Viewers (449,000 vs. 322,000) and HLN’s “Morning Express with Robin Meade.”(449,000 vs. 316,000).

For the month of March, MSNBC was up +16% in Total Viewers and up +20% in younger viewers (Total Day, Mon-Sun), but was outdone by CNN which was up +67% in total viewers and up +125% in younger viewers compared to March 2010. Fox News and HLN were both down compared to March 2010.

MSNBC’s release after the jump…


MSNBC Beats CNN at 7p, 8p, 9p, and 10p in Total Viewers for First Quarter of 2011
‘Morning Joe’ Tops CNN’s “American Morning” for the 5th Consecutive Quarter

NEW YORK – March 29, 2011 – MSNBC beat CNN in primetime in the first quarter of 2011, finishing well ahead of the formerly dominant news network for the 6th consecutive quarter. MSNBC continues to top CNN in the mornings as well, with “Morning Joe” beating “American Morning” for the fifth consecutive quarter. MSNBC topped CNN at 7, 8, 9 and 10 p.m. in total viewers in 1Q11. MSNBC also delivered its best total day quarterly performance in two years. Following are ratings highlights for 1Q 2011:

• MSNBC beat CNN in primetime in 1Q 2011 by 20% in total viewers (978,000 vs. 814,000) This was the 6th consecutive quarterly victory over CNN for MSNBC and the network’s best total viewer delivery since 1Q09. Compared to 1Q10, MSNBC in primetime has grown 13% in A25-54 and 16% with total viewers.

• In total day (Monday – Sunday 6 a.m. – 6 a.m.), MSNBC delivered its strongest A25-54 and total viewer audiences since 1Q09. MSNBC ranked #1 with younger adults A18-34 for the first time since 3Q08, beating both CNN and Fox News Channel.

• For the fifth consecutive quarter, “Morning Joe” surpassed CNN’s “American
Morning” in 1Q11 among total viewers (449,000 vs. 322,000) and HLN’s Robin Meade for the 13th quarter (449,000 vs. 316,000). 1Q11 marks the best total viewer delivery for “Morning Joe” since 4Q08. Compared to 1Q10, “Morning Joe” in the only cable morning news program to show growth in every ratings category this quarter, including a 26% increase among total viewers and 23% growth among A25-54.

• “Hardball with Chris Matthews” finished the quarter well ahead of CNN at 7 p.m by 22% in total viewers at 7 p.m. (734,000 vs. 602,000). This is the 6th consecutive quarter MSNBC has topped CNN at 7 p.m. and marks “Hardball’s” best total viewer delivery since 1Q09. Compared to 1Q10, “Hardball” is up in 1Q11 in every ratings category, including 21% growth in total viewers and 27% growth among A25-54.

• At 8 p.m., where “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” currently airs,
MSNBC continued to dominate CNN for the quarter, beating CNN by 59% in total viewers (1,027,000 vs. 644,000) and 22% in A25-54 (247,000 vs. 202,000). This marks the 12th consecutive quarter ranking #2 at 8 p.m. in total viewers and the 18th consecutive quarter topping CNN among A25-54.

• “The Rachel Maddow Show” finished 1Q well ahead of CNN a 9 p.m., where “Piers Morgan Tonight” currently airs, by 26% in total viewers (1,065,000 vs. 848,000) and 10% among adults 25-54 (295,000 vs. 269,000). TRMS delivered the strongest A25-54 and total viewer audiences for the hour since 1Q09. Compared to 1Q10, TRMS is up 16% among total viewers and 24% among A25-54 in 1Q11.

• At 10 p.m., where “The Ed Show” with Ed Schultz currently airs, MSNBC beat CNN’s “AC 360” for the 3rd consecutive quarter (881,000 vs. 858,000). This is MSNBC’s strongest total viewer delivery since 4Q08. Compared to 1Q10, MSNBC at 10 p.m. has grown 50% in total viewers and 27% among A25-54 in 1Q11.

• MSNBC is #1 in delivering total African American viewers for the 5th quarter and #1 with total Hispanic viewers for the 4th consecutive quarter in Monday – Sunday Primetime.

• MSNBC Longform ranks #1 in Weekend Primetime (Saturday – Sunday 7 p.m. – 2 a.m.) among adults 25-54 for the 4th consecutive quarter and beat CNN for the 10th straight quarter.