CNN just finished one of its most-watched quarters in recent memory. The network finished No. 2, behind Fox News, in all categories and was the only cable news network to show across-the-board growth compared to Q3 last year. CNN was up +36 percent in the adults 25-54 demo for prime time, and up +7 percent in the demo for total day. CNN’s numbers were boosted by the record-setting GOP debate in September: the network’s most-watched program ever.
The ratings for Q3, 2015:
- Prime time (Mon-Sun): 814,000 Total Viewers / 251,000 A25-54
- Total Day (Mon-Sun): 488,000 Total Viewers / 143,000 A25-54
Among total viewers CNN was up +47 percent in prime time and up +9 for the total day. CNN has now beaten MSNBC in total day for six straight quarters in both total viewers and the demo, with New Day beating Morning Joe for a 5th consecutive quarter in the demo. For the month of September, the GOP debate vaulted CNN to the No. 1 spot in the prime time demo. The last time CNN finished No. 1 in any month was in February 2008. (Q1 2008 was the last time CNN was first in the prime time demo.)
CNN Original Series had a strong month, with The Seventies finishing No. 2 in its time period among both viewers and the demo. The Hunt with John Walsh and Death Row Stories both finished first in the key demo, while the premiere of Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie was No. 2 in its time period.
Check out the full CNN release:
IN Q3, CNN RANKS #2 IN CABLE NEWS IN EVERY DAYPART
NEW DAY BEATS MORNING JOE FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT QUARTER
In September, CNN Beats Fox News In Prime For First Time In More Than 7 Years
In the third quarter (July –September) that ended Sunday, CNN enjoyed one of its best quarters in recent years. CNN ranked #2 in cable news across every daypart (Total Day, M-Su and M-F primetime), in its closest position to Fox News in years and firmly ahead of MSNBC. CNN was the only cable news network to grow in all categories compared to a year ago, showing the most significant gains in primetime. CNN narrowed the quarterly P2+ gap with Fox News to its smallest in Total Day in over four years, in M-Su Prime in more than six years, and in M-F Prime in six years. The network also topped MSNBC dayside (9a-4p) by wide margins this quarter, posting a +58% advantage in total viewers (506k vs. MSNBC’s 321k) and a +130% lead in the demo 25-54 (122k vs. 53k). CNN ranked #1 this quarter in weekend prime in the key adult 25-54 demo. MSNBC hit its 3rd lowest quarterly P25-54 levels in Total Day in over 10 years, in M-Su Prime in over nine years, and in Daytime 9a-4p in over 15 years. And CNN’s morning program, New Day beat MSNBC’s Morning Joe for the fifth straight quarter among adults 25-54.
Of particular note, CNN ranked #1, ahead of Fox News, for the month of September in primetime among adults 25-54. The last time CNN ranked #1 in prime time in cable news for any month was February 2008. In Daytime 9a-4p, Fox News averaged its 3rd lowest quarterly P25-54 delivery in 14 years.
CNN has now outperformed MSNBC in Total Day for the sixth straight quarter among both total viewers and the demo, M-Su prime for the sixth straight quarter in the adults 25-54 demo and fifth straight quarter in total viewers, and M-F prime for the fifth straight quarter among adults 25-54. This is the longest streak across these dayparts and demos in nearly seven years (since 4Q-08). CNN has also posted its largest primetime quarterly lead over MSNBC in nine years among adults 25-54, and in seven years among total viewers. The network has also topped MSNBC at 7p, 8p, 9p and 10p hours in the demo for the fifth consecutive quarter.
Q3 CNN Program Highlights:
CNN’s New Day (6-9a) beat MSNBC’s Morning Joe for the fifth consecutive quarter among P25-54.
- The Lead with Jake Tapper(4p) ranked #2 in total viewers (570k) and the demo (138k).
- The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer(5p-7p) ranked #2 in total viewers (579k) and the demo (158k).
- Erin Burnett Outfront (7p) ranked #2 in the demo (181k), easily topping MSNBC’s Hardball (136k)
- AC 360(8p) ranked #2 in the key demo (203k) easily topping MSNBC’s Chris Hayes(134k). 360 grew +11% in total viewers from a year ago.
- CNN’s 9pm programming beat MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Showin the demo 25-54 (194k vs. 182k).
- CNN Tonight with Don Lemon(10pm) topped MSNBC (175k vs. 139k) in the demo 25-54.
- State of the Union with Jake Tapper (9a) ranked #2 in total viewers (535k) and the demo (132k) and increased +13% in total viewers vs. last year. SOTUalso ranked #2 at noon.
- Fareed Zakaria GPS ranked #2 in both total viewers and the demo at both 10a and 1p.
- Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter ranked #2 in total viewers (486k) and among 25-54 (113k).
Q3 CNN Original Series Highlights:
- The Seventies ranked #2 in cable news in its time period in total viewers and adults 25-54:
o Averaged 1.016 million total viewers and 359k among adults 25-54 over its eight Thursday 9p-10p premieres in Season 1 (6/11-8/13/15).
- Beat MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show by +93% in 25-54 (186k), +9% in total viewers (934k).
o Grew from Live to Live+7 viewing by +68% among 25-54 (359k vs. 214k) and +52% in total viewers (1,016k vs. 670k).
o Versus The Sixties season average, above by +20% in 25-54 (359k vs. 298k) and attracted a younger audience.
- The Hunt with John Walshranked #1 in 25-54 and 18-34; #2 in total viewers across cable news in its time period:
o Averaged 712k in total viewers, 239k among 25-54, and 47k in 18-34 over its eight Sunday 9p-10p premieres in Season 2 (7/12-8/30/15).
- More than doubled MSNBC in total viewers (+101%; 354k).
o Grew from Live to Live+7 viewing by +22% among 25-54 (239k vs. 196k), +16% in total viewers (712k vs. 613k), and +18% in P18-34 (47k vs. 40k).
- Death Row Storiesranked #1 among both total viewers and demo 25-54; #2 among 18-34 across cable news in its time period:
o Averaged 658k in total viewers, 249k in 25-54, and 44k 18-34 over its six Sunday 10p-11p premieres in Season 2 (7/12-8/16/15).
o Grew from Live to Live+7 viewing by +19% among both 25-54 (249k vs. 209k) and 18-34 (44k vs. 37k), and +16% in P2+ (658k vs. 569k).
- The Parts Unknown Season 6 premiere (Cuba; Sun 9/27/15 9p-10p) delivered 256k P25-54, 606k P2+, and 45k P18-34.
o Among the three Parts Unknown fall season premieres to-date, Cuba was the highest-rated in P25-54, and the 2nd highest-rated in P2+ (after the Jerusalem Season 2 premiere – 681k).
o Across cable news in its time period, Parts Unknown ranked #1 in P25-54, P2+, and P18-34.
- Outperformed the combined P25-54 delivery of Fox News (86k), HLN (68k), and MSNBC (47k).
- Beat Fox News (558k) by +9% and more than tripled MSNBC (+274%; 162k) in P2+.
- Outperformed the combined P18-34 delivery of MSNBC (22k) and Fox News (21k).
o Versus quarter-hour lead-in, Parts Unknown was up in P25-54 (+43%), P2+ (+58%), and P18-34 (+24%).
- In the hour, CNN was the only cable news network to increase versus lead-in among P25-54, while it grew the most among P2+.
- The Somebody’s Gotta Do It Season 3 premiere (Dude Perfect; Sun 9/27/15 10p-11p) delivered 146k P25-54, 360k P2+, and 19k P18-34.
o Across cable news in its time period, Somebody’s Gotta Do It ranked #1 in P25-54, and #2 among both P2+ and P18-34.
- More than doubled MSNBC (+139%; 61k) and outperformed Fox News (126k) by +16% in P25-54.
- More than doubled MSNBC (+165%; 136k) in P2+.
- Beat MSNBC (11k) by +73% in P18-34.
- The Parts Unknown Prime Cuts Season 5 premiere (Sun 9/27/15 8p-9p) delivered 147k P25-54, 394k P2+, and 35k P18-34.
o Across cable news in its time period, Prime Cuts ranked #1 in P25-54, and #2 among both P2+ and P18-34.
- Ahead of both Fox News (+28%; 115k) and MSNBC (+88%; 78k) by double-digit percentages among P25-54.
- Beat MSNBC (208k) by +89% among P2+.
- Delivered more than four times Fox News audience (+338%; 8k) and outperformed MSNBC (30k) by +17% in P18-34.
Q3 CNN Films Highlights:
- The premiere of Evocateur: The Morton Downey Jr. Movie(Thur 8/20/15); ranked #2 among adults 25-54 across cable news in its time period.
o Averaged 739k total viewers and 209k in 25-54
o Up from Live to Live+7 viewing by +26% in 25-54 (209k vs. 166k), and +20% among total viewers (739k vs. 615k).
- The premiere of Fresh Dressed(Thu 9/3/15)
o Delivered 179k 25-54, 347k total viewers and 50k among 18-34.
o Delivered a median age of 51 years, the 3rd youngest among the 18 CNN Films and 4 CNN Films Presents premieres to-date.
o Across cable news in its time period, ranked #2 among P18-34, more than doubling MSNBC (+108%; 24k).
End of month, September 2015:
CNN beat Fox News in primetime in adults 25-54 to rank #1 across cable news for the first time in over seven years (since February 2008);
- CNN grew triple digits vs. a year ago in primetime;
- In Total Day, CNN posted the largest growth vs. a year ago among the Top 25 cable networks in the demo 25-54 and largest among the Top 15 in total viewers;
- Topped MSNBC for 15th straight month in Total Day among both P25-54 and P2+, and in M-Su/M-F Prime among P25-54. This is the longest streak across these dayparts and demos in over seven years (since Feb-08).
CNN Republican candidates’ debate has biggest ratings in CNN history (Live+SD):
- CNN’s Republican candidates’ debate on September 16 had the biggest ratings in CNN history with 23.1 million total viewers;
- Ranked #10 among all cable telecasts on record (including sports, back to 1993) in total viewers;
- CNN delivered cable’s most watched non-sports primetime daypart (8-11pm) audience on record (going back 22 years) among total viewers and demo 25-54;
- Had a cumulative reach of 37.9 million total viewers (Fox News’ debate reached 36.4 million.);
- Length of tune-in longer than Fox News’ August debate in total viewers (viewers watched an average for 101.2 minutes vs. Fox News’ average of 86.8 minutes);
- Among Millennials (18-34): Ranked #1 among all cable news (back to 1996) and broadcast (back to 2007) primary debates on record. Beat Fox News’ August 6thGOP Primary Debate by +8% (2.8 million vs. Fox News’ 2.6 million).
Data is a blend of Nielsen Live+SD and the more inclusive Live+3 and final Live+7 data when available.