Q3 2015 Ratings: MSNBC Sees Double Digit Growth

By Mark Joyella 

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MSNBC hasn’t reversed its ratings woes, but on the heels of a broad shift back to news, the network can point to improvements in 3Q 2015–mostly in September. In total day viewing, MSNBC was up +14 percent–more than Fox News and CNN. In prime time, MSNBC grew its viewership 13 percent vs. Q3 2014.

The ratings for Q3, 2015 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 625,000 total viewers / 140,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 375,000 total viewers / 92,000 A25-54

MSNBC remained in third place overall, and 4th place for total day in the demo. In fact, the network was down -5 percent in the demo for total day, and down -7 percent in the demo for prime time–the only cable network of the the big three to show declines, but it was also the only network not to air a GOP primary debate during the quarter.

Key shows including Morning Joe, Hardball, All In with Chris Hayes, The Rachel Maddow Show, and The Last Word all improved among total viewers vs. Q2 2015. This was in keeping with the trend for MSNBC of improvement among total viewers, but ratings declines in the demo vs. Q2 2014.

Here’s MSNBC’s release:


MSNBC Continues to See Gains in 25-54 Demo and Total Viewers for September 2015

“Morning Joe” Tops “New Day” in Total Viewers and Ties in the Demo for September 2015

NEW YORK – September 29, 2015 – MSNBC wrapped up the third quarter of 2015 seeing the highest ratings in key dayparts for the year. MSNBC saw 25-54 demo highs for total day M-Su 6a-6a, M-F prime 8p-11p, M-Su prime 8p-11p, sales prime M-Su 7p-2a, sales day M-Su 6a-2a and M-F 9a-5p according to data from Nielsen (graph below). “Morning Joe”, “Hardball with Chris Matthews”, “All In with Chris Hayes”, “The Rachel Maddow Show”, and “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” were also up in total viewers for the quarter and over last year.

For September 2015, “Morning Joe” saw its highest demo ratings since March 2014 and “The Rachel Maddow Show” saw its highest demo since November 2014. For “Way Too Early” and for the key M-F 9a-5p daypart, MSNBC saw the highest demo since November 2014. “Morning Joe” also beat CNN’s “New Day” in total viewers and tied in the demo for the month. In total viewers, “Hardball with Chris Matthews” (747,000 vs. CNN’s 646,000), “The Rachel Maddow Show” (949,000 vs. CNN’s 600,000), and “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” (741,000 vs. CNN’s 520,000) all beat CNN and were all up in total viewers over September 2014 as was the key M-F 9a-5p. “All In with Chris Hayes” was up 33% in total viewers over last year. On the weekends, “Up with Steve Kornacki” was up in double digits in both the demo and total viewers for both Saturday and Sunday.

Other highlights from September 2015 include Pope Francis’ historic visit to the United States. On Thursday, September 24, MSNBC beat CNN in the demo for the full 9am-12pm ET block anchored by Brian Williams and drew the network’s biggest demo audience in that time period for news coverage since the Boston bombing manhunt on April 19, 2013. On Saturday September 26, MSNBC aired the Global Citizen Festival (3p-10p) from Central Park and saw a 39% increase in the demo and 97% increase in total viewers for the event.