Q2 2017 Ratings: Rachel Maddow Has the No. 1 Cable News Show Among Adults 25-54

By A.J. Katz Comment

It was another huge quarter for MSNBC, one full of ratings milestones. Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, MSNBC managed to defeat rival CNN in the prime time news demo (Adults 25-54) for the first time since the second quarter of 2014, and posted its largest news demo audience since the fourth quarter of 2008.

MSNBC was the No. 2 cable news network for the quarter in prime time among adults 25-54 and in total viewers. The network finished behind Fox News in multiple dayparts, but with a continued focus on breaking news, the network managed to defeat CNN in a variety of categories, including total day viewers, for the first time since Q1 2014, setting a quarterly record in the process. It was also the third-most-watched basic cable network, both in total day and in prime time viewers.

Below are the network’s average live + same day impressions for Q2 2017 (Nielsen data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 1,637,000 total viewers /  389,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun):  886,000 total viewers / 206,000 A25-54

MSNBC also set network records in the adults 18-49 demo during weekday prime (M-F 8-11 p.m.), finishing at No. 1 for the first time ever for a full quarter. While the achievement should be seen as a positive, the A18-49 demo is almost never cited by cable news advertisers. The A25-54 demo is the standard in this genre. A18-49 is the key demo for advertisers looking at broadcast and cable entertainment networks.

Nevertheless, there was significant audience growth for MSNBC relative to Q2 ’16. In prime time, the network posted +86 percent growth in total viewers and +78 percent growth in the key A25-54 demo. In total day, MSNBC was up +73 percent in total viewers and up +57 percent in the demo.

One of the most significant cable news ratings stories for Q2 ’17 was the performance of The Rachel Maddow Show. Maddow finished this past quarter as the No. 1 show across all of cable news in the all-important A25-54 demographic.

Not only did Maddow deliver its largest demo audience since Q4 2008, but the show’s 2.5 million total viewer average for Q2 represents the best total audience delivery for a quarter in series history.

Morning Joe had a solid quarter in its own right. Not only did it defeat its rival New Day in total viewers for the 9th straight quarter, but its 997,000 total viewer average represents a quarterly audience record for MSNBC in the 6 – 9 a.m. time period.

The 11th Hour with Brian Williams was the most-watched cable news program in, you guessed it, the 11 p.m. hour. The show also beat CNN in A25-54, with the show’s best demo delivery since Q4 of 2001.

Here’s more in MSNBC’s release:

 MSNBC WEEKDAY PRIME TIES FOR #1 IN A18-49 FOR 2Q17, 1ST TIME MSNBC TOPS A QUARTER IN THIS DEMO
MSNBC Weekday Prime Beats CNN in A25-54 for 1st Time Since 2Q14, Delivers Highest A25-54 Rating Since 4Q08
MSNBC Weekday Prime Bests CNN in Total Viewers for 5th Straight Quarter

“The Rachel Maddow Show” is #1 in A18-49 and A25-54 Among All Cable News for the Quarter

MSNBC Total Day M-Su 6am-6am Outpaces CNN Among Total Viewers for 1st Time Since 1Q14, Sets a Quarterly Record

MSNBC Dayside M-F 9am-5pm Posts Record Quarter in Total Viewers, the Closest to CNN in 5 Years

“Morning Joe” Posts Highest Ever Quarterly Delivery in Both A25-54 And Total Viewers, Beating CNN for the 9th Straight Quarter in Total Viewers With the Show’s Largest Lead Over CNN in the Time Period

“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” Ranks As the #1 Show at 11pm for the Quarter in Total Viewers

More Viewers Watch MSNBC Than Third-Place CNN on Weekdays at 9am, 5pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm, 10pm, 11pm, 12am – and Saturdays at 10am
NEW YORK (June 26, 2017) – For the 2nd quarter in 2017, MSNBC tied for the #1 cable news network in A18-49 during weekday prime (M-F 8-11pm), the 1st time the network has topped this demo for a quarter. According to Nielsen, MSNBC delivered 344,000 in viewers A18-49, more than doubling the previous 2nd quarter in a post-presidential year (2Q13 with 142,000). This is the best A18-49 delivery for the network since 4Q12. MSNBC was up +84% in viewers A18-49 over 2Q16, posting more growth than the competition (CNN’s +16% and FOX News’ +20%).
MSNBC weekday prime beat CNN in A25-54 for the 1st time since 2Q14 (493,000 vs. CNN’s 414,000) and posted the network’s highest share of the cable news universe in A25-54 ever. Compared to 2Q16, MSNBC was up +88% (vs. CNN’s +21% and FOX News’ +30%) and added +230,000 viewers A25-54, the most of any network. In 2Q17, MSNBC was the fastest growing network for all cable in A25-54 and has posted four straight quarters of growth. For full week prime (M-Su 8-11pm), MSNBC ranked #2 in cable news, beating CNN in A25-54 with the network’s best delivery since 4Q12 – and topping CNN in total viewers for the 2ndstraight quarter.
In weekday prime, MSNBC beat CNN in total viewers for the 5th straight quarter and ranked #2 among all cable networks. MSNBC prime finished the quarter with 2.1 million viewers, a record for MSNBC and besting CNN’s highest quarter ever -1.9 million viewers in 4Q08. This is MSNBC’s highest cable news universe share ever and the 1st time it delivered more than 2 million viewers. MSNBC has added more viewers in weekday prime than any other cable network in the past year – 1 million, nearly tripling the #2 network in growth – FOX News.
“The Rachel Maddow Show” at 9pm is the #1 show in cable news among A18-49 and A25-54. “Maddow” averaged 431,000 viewers A18-49, up +96% compared to 2Q16 (vs. CNN’s +51% and FOX News’ +11%), its best delivery in that demo since 4Q08. In A25-54, “Maddow” averaged 604,000 viewers, up +101% compared to 2Q16 (vs. CNN’s +52% and FOX News’ +20%), its best delivery in A25-54 in the hour since 4Q08. “Maddow” averaged 2.5 million total viewers and topped its competition in total viewer growth compared to 2Q16 (+98% vs. CNN’s +38% and FOX News’ +5%). This is “Maddow’s” best audience delivery in total viewers for the quarter ever.
MSNBC Total Day (M-Su 6am-6am) bested CNN among total viewers, posting the network’s best total viewer delivery in the daypart ever. The network also delivered its best A25-54 delivery since 4Q12.
MSNBC dayside (M-F 9am-5pm) posted 855,000 total viewers – the network’s largest quarter in total viewers and the closest to CNN since 4Q12 – and 166,000 viewers A25-54, the network’s highest since 4Q12. Dayside has achieved nine straight quarters of growth in A25-54 and eight straight quarters of growth in total viewers. MSNBC is the 2nd fastest growing cable network over 2Q16 in both A25-54 and in total viewers (after Oxygen).
“Morning Joe” at 6am beat 3rd place CNN in total viewers for the 9th straight quarter as well as the network’s biggest win over CNN ever. Averaging 997,000 total viewers, “Morning Joe” has seen nine straight quarters of growth. “Morning Joe’s” total viewer delivery of nearly 1 million viewers in 2Q17 was a quarterly record for MSNBC in the time period. In addition, the 2Q rating topped the highest quarter CNN has ever had in the time period (731,000 in 2Q03). In A25-54, “Morning Joe” had MSNBC’s highest rating ever in the time period and highest share of the cable news universe since 4Q12.
“The 11th Hour with Brian Williams” was the #1 show in cable news at 11pm for total viewers. The program more than tripled the growth of the competition in total viewers compared to 2Q16 (+156% vs. CNN’s +39% and FOX News’ +8%). “The 11th Hour” also beat CNN in A25-54, with the show’s best A25-54 delivery since 4Q01. “The 11th Hour’s” delivered MSNBC’s best A18-49 since 4Q01.
Six additional MSNBC programs beat CNN among total viewers for the quarter: “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” at 9am, “MTP Daily” at 5pm, “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7pm, “All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm, “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm, and “AM Joy” on Saturdays at 10am. “MSNBC Live with Stephanie Ruhle” topped CNN for the 2nd straight quarter at 9am and posted the best delivery in the hour for total viewers ever. The show also delivered its best A25-54 delivery in the hour since 4Q08. “MTP Daily” had the show’s best total viewer, A18-49 and A25-54 deliveries since 4Q12. “Hardball” had the show’s best quarterly delivery ever in total viewers and beat CNN for the 16th straight quarter in total viewers. In addition, “Hardball” had the show’s best A18-49 and A25-54 since 4Q08. “All In with Chris Hayes” beat CNN for the 2nd straight quarter in total viewers and delivered the program’s best total viewer delivery in the time period since 4Q08. This quarter was MSNBC’s best rating in A18-49 and A25-54 delivery since 1Q09. “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” had MSNBC’s best quarter ever for the time period in total viewers and beat CNN for the 8th consecutive quarter. “The Last Word” also had the show’s best quarterly delivery ever in A25-54 and beat CNN for the first time since 2Q14. The Saturday 10am edition of “AM Joy” beat CNN in total viewers and posted the best total viewer delivery ever for MSNBC.
Source: Nielsen 2Q 2017
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