Q2 2010 Ratings: CNN’s Up and Down Quarter

By kevin 

While CNN’s primetime struggled in particularly low-rated April, the network fared a little better in June. Still, CNN saw sizeable year-to-year decreases over the whole of the quarter — the largest in cable news.

Total day (Mon-Sun): 439k total/143k A25-54
Prime (Mon-Sun): 596k total/175k A25-54

In total viewers, CNN was down -27% in total day and -31% in primetime year-to-year. In the demo, the network was down -20% and -27% respectively. Those percentages however are much lower than the year-to-year drop CNN saw in Q1.

“John King USA” (450k / 142k) struggled in its first full quarter to match its predecessor. The program is down -41% in total viewers (-36% demo) compared to Q2 of 2009 — when Lou Dobbs was in the time slot. In total viewers, “JK, USA” saw the largest percentage decrease in all of cable news.

“Rick’s List” is still besting the non-Fox competition — topping MSNBC Live and “Dylan Ratigan” by almost 200k total viewers — but is down considerably from a year ago. The 4pmET hour (520k / 138k) is down -40% in total viewers and -22% in the demo, while the 3pmET hour (497k / 142k) is down -31% and -14%.

The program with the biggest year-to-year drop in the demo? “Larry King Live” (677k / 177k) which was down -37% in both total viewers and A25-54. King finished third in behind Sean Hannity and Rachel Maddow in both categories.

Anderson Cooper also saw decreases. TVbytheNumbers reports, “The second quarter of 2010 was AC360’s 3rd lowest ever for average viewership and 2nd lowest ever for adults 25-54.”

Campbell Brown, who announced in May that she would be stepping down from her 8pmET program due to a lack of viewership, saw her lowest-rated quarter since the show’s launch (477k / 139k).

The CNN release is after the jump.


CNN Only Network to Grow During Gulf Oil Spill Coverage

FNC Declines Double Digits in Total Day and M-Su Prime Demo versus Q1 2010

CNN Digital ranked No. 1 among ALL Current Events and Global News Sites in May


CNN: 93.4 million viewers
Fox News: 80.0 million viewers
MSNBC: 82.0 million viewers
HLN: 81.4 million viewers

CNN Digital: 38 million users
Fox News Digital: 15 million users
MSNBC Digital: 30 million users

**Based on Monthly Unique TV Viewers in June and Latest Monthly Digital Users (May)


In June, CNN was the only cable news network to grow in M-F primetime vs. last month in the key demo adults 25-54. In M-F primetime, CNN grew an impressive +43% (220k vs 154k), while FNC was flat (597k vs. 600k) and MSNBC lost -4% (247k vs. 256k) of its audience. At 10p, AC 360 was the only program during that time period to grow double digits, increasing 23% in the key demo 25-54 (254k vs. 206k), FNC’s On the Record was up 9% (503k vs. 462k) and MSNBC was up 8% (213k vs. 198k). Also compared to May, Larry King Live was the only cable news program at 9p to increase double digits, growing +28% (213k vs. 166k), while FNC’s Hannity grew only 10% (572k vs. 520k) and MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was flat (248k vs. 248k).

In June, CNN topped MSNBC in total day among total viewers by 12% (458k vs. 410k) and by 5% in the key demo 25-54 (157k vs. 149k). During the daytime (M-F 9am-5pm) in head-to-head comparisons with MSNBC’s non-opinion news programming — CNN posted a +72% advantage in total viewers (530k vs. 309k) and had a 72% advantage among 25-54 viewers (150k vs. 87k). MSNBC placed fourth every hour of the day in the demo 25-54, except at 3p where they placed third behind Rick’s List.

The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer at both 5p and 6p is having its second best month this year, behind only the Haiti-driven month of January 2010. At 5p, The Situation Room topped Hardball in both total viewers (635k vs 550k) and in the key demo 25-54 (183k vs. 121k) and at 6p it outperformed MSNBC’s The Ed Show in the key demo (172k vs. 155k).

Of note: Data comparisons to year ago include the death of Michael Jackson (June 25, 2009) and the heavy viewing days that immediately followed in the Nielsen reporting period (ending June 28, 2009).

Since BP’s oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico nearly 10 weeks ago, CNN is the only cable news network to register growth vs. the previous 10 weeks among adults 25-54, up 15%. Meanwhile, FNC registered a 11% decline among P25-54, and MSNBC dropped 9%. Additionally, Anderson Cooper 360 increased 20% among 25-54 viewers, the only gain of any cable news network at 10p during the past 10 weeks.

CNN/Second Quarter

Throughout the quarter, CNN improved upon its own performance each consecutive month in all key dayparts. The chart below tracks CNN by month over the course of Q2-10:

Total Viewers

Daypart Apr May June
Total Day 412 445 458
M-Su Prime 569 596 621

Persons 25-54

Total Day 123 148 157
M-Su Prime 148 170 207