The 3rd quarter of 2016 represents CNN’s most-watched quarter in 8 years. The network finished the quarter as the No. 2 cable news network in the important A25-54 demo, and as the No. 3 cable news network in total prime time viewers.
CNN delivered year-over-year improvement in total prime time viewers (+49 percent) and A25-54 prime time viewers (+59 percent) compared to Q3 of 2015. The network also delivered year-over-year boosts in total day viewership, up 61 percent in total viewers and up 68 percent in A25-54 compared to its total day performance in Q3 2015.
The ratings for Q3, 2016 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):
- Prime time (Mon-Sun): 1,216,000 total viewers / 399,000 A25-54
- Total Day (Mon-Sun): 787,000 total viewers / 240,000 A25-54
The story for CNN in Q3 seems to be its performance in the advertiser-friendly A25-54 demographic, a category where it continues to have the edge over MSNBC across multiple dayparts on weekdays and weekends. New Day, which had its best quarter ever, The Lead with Jake Tapper, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Erin Burnett Outfront, AC 360, and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon all defeated their MSNBC timeslot competition in the demo. CNN Tonight earned a victory over MSNBC’s new show The 11th Hour with Brian Williams in the demo, and CNN Original Series Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies and The Hunt with John Walsh also won in the demo.
CNN finished Q3 2016 ranked No. 10 in total prime time viewers, and No. 9 in total day viewers across the cable landscape. This takes both basic and premium cable networks into account.
This past September, the network fell over 20 percent in prime time viewers from September 2015, including a 23 percent year-over-year drop in the key news demo. It’s notable that CNN set a network-record in September 2015 with its No. 1 telecast in its history: The GOP Reagan Library Republican Debate, which delivered over 23 million viewers.
Here’s the full CNN release:
Q3: CNN HAS BEST QUARTER IN EIGHT YEARS
Dominates MSNBC for 10th Straight Quarter
Smallest Gap with Fox News in 7 Years
CNN Strong #2 in Cable News
CNN had its most-watched quarter in eight years among both total viewers and adults 25-54 in the third quarter of 2016, which officially ended Sunday.
In prime time, CNN had its second best quarter in eight years in both total viewers and adults 25-54 (since 4Q 2008).
All of this came despite very difficult comparisons to a year ago (September 2015), when CNN broadcast a record setting GOP Republican Presidential debate at the Reagan Library, making this year’s performance that much more impressive.
For the quarter (July-September), CNN ranked a strong #2 in cable news in Total Day among both total viewers and adults 25-54, posting its smallest gap with Fox News in seven years in total viewers. CNN also finished second in prime time in cable news among adults 25-54.
CNN had impressive growth this quarter, increasing its audience by high double to triple digits vs. a year ago, even despite the tough comparisons to last year.
Finishing #2 across the board, CNN has now dominated MSNBC for 10 straight quarters in Total Day (total viewers and adults 25-54) and in prime time (adults 25-54). This is the longest quarterly streak in over seven years (since 4Q 2008).
CNN beat MSNBC among adults 25-54 every hour of the weekday beginning at 8 am (New Day) and during each show in sales prime (Erin Burnett Outfront at 7pm, AC 360 at 8pm and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon at 10pm). At 11pm, Don Lemon easily topped MSNBC’s Brian Williams’ 11th Hour since that program’s debut on September 6th. MSNBC also lagged far behind CNN during weekend cable news and Sunday morning programming.
In the morning, New Day had its highest quarterly ratings ever, among total viewers and adults 25-54, and gave CNN its best adults 25-54 numbers since 1Q 2009 and biggest share of the audience (23%) between 6 and 9 am since Q4 2008.
Of particular note, this quarter CNN ranks in the Top 10 in ALL of cable among total viewers (#9 in Total Day, #10 in prime time). For context, last year (Q3-15) CNN ranked #20 and #23 respectively. Also this quarter, CNN is the 3rd fastest-growing cable network in Total Day among both total viewers and adults 25-54.
CNN THIRD QUARTER PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
Early Start with John Berman and Christine Romans (4-6am) ranked #1 in cable news in the 4a hour in the key demo 25-54. The program grew high double digits in each hour vs. a year ago.
New Day (6-9am) is having its best quarter ever in total viewers (521k) and adults 25-54 (168k), increasing an impressive +55%/+65% respectively. CNN beat MSNBC’s Morning Joe at 8am in the key demo adults 25-54 (181k vs. 170k). This is also CNN’s best performance in the morning time period since 4Q-08 for total viewers and since 1Q-09 for the demo.
CNN’s dayside programming (9am-4pm) easily dominates MSNBC and is having its best performance in total viewers and adults 25-54 since 1Q 2009, increasing +60% in total viewers and +71% in the demo from last year.
The Lead with Jake Tapper (4pm) ranked #2 in cable news this quarter, easily topping MSNBC in both total viewers (988k vs. MSNBC’s 646k) and the demo 25-54 (242k vs. 130k). The Lead grew +73% in total viewers and +75% in adults 25-54 since last year.
The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (5-7pm) also had a very strong quarter, easily topping MSNBC in both total viewers and the demo. The Blitzer-led program was also up +24% in total viewers and up +36% in the demo 25-54 vs. a year ago.
Erin Burnett Outfront (7pm): For the ninth straight quarter, Outfront beat MSNBC’s Hardball in the demo (326k vs. 251k). EBOF also grew the most in cable news at 7pm among total viewers — increasing +87% and was up +80% among adults 25-54 from a year ago.
Anderson Cooper 360 (8pm) dominated MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes in both total viewers (1.334m vs. MSNBC’s 1.214m) and among adults 25-54 (410k vs. 282k). CNN has now topped MSNBC for seven of the past 10 quarters in total viewers and for 10 consecutive quarters among adults 25-54 at 8pm. AC 360 was up a staggering +88% in total viewers and +102% among adults 25-54.
CNN programming at 9pm grew +61% in total viewers and +72% among adults 25-54 compared to last year.
CNN Tonight with Don Lemon ranked #2 in cable news this quarter, topping MSNBC’s Last Word at 10pm among adults 25-54 (358k vs. MSNBC’s 307k). This represents CNN’s 10th consecutive quarterly win over MSNBC. The Lemon-led show was also up a whopping +97% among both total viewers and in the demo.
CNN Tonight also easily topped MSNBC’s new program The 11th Hour with Brian Williams (11-11:30pm) since that show debuted on September 6 among adults 25-54 (333k vs. MSNBC’s 234k).
New Day Saturday ranked either #1 or #2 in total viewers and among adults 25-54; growing every hour vs. last year. MSNBC was 3rd or 4th.
Smerconish (9am) easily topped MSNBC ranking #2 in total viewers and demo 25-54. At 9am, the program grew +59% in total viewers and +81% adults 25-54. At 6pm, the program was #1 in the demo 25-54 (189k).
CNN Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield was either #1 or #2 in cable news from noon-3pm this quarter for both total viewers and in the demo, growing each hour compared to a year ago. MSNBC ranked third.
CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow ranked #1 among adults 25-54 during the 3-6pm hours and #2 in total viewers; also growing high double digits each hour vs. a year ago.
Inside Politics with John King ranked #2 on Sundays at 8:30am easily topping MSNBC in total viewers (704k vs. MSNBC’s 456k) and adults 25-54 (195k vs. 115k). The program was also up double digits (+39%/+51%) versus a year ago.
State of the Union with Jake Tapper was #2 in cable news on Sunday mornings at 9am, increasing +48% in total viewers (793k) and +71% among adults 25-54 (227k) vs. last year. At noon, SOTU also ranked #2 in both demos and was up +69%/+86% respectively. MSNBC placed third in both demos.
Fareed Zakaria GPS (10am) ranked #2 in total viewers (926k, up +52%) and among the demo adults 25-54 (241k, up +69%). At 1pm, GPS was #2 in both demos, increasing +60% in total viewers and +65% among 25-54 compared to a year ago.
Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter (11am) ranked #2 in cable news this quarter with 876K in total viewers (up +80% from last year) and 233k among 25-54 (up +106%).
CNN ORIGINAL SERIES QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS:
The premiere of season eight Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, Hanoi episode (September 25, 2016), ranked as the 2nd highest rated telecast ever for the series among total viewers (952k) and adults 25-54 (390k).
The season three premiere of This is Life with Lisa Ling, Locked Angeles episode (September 25, 2016), ranked as the #1 telecast ever for the series among 25-54 (314k), and #2 among total viewers (716k).
Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies Season 1 (6/19-9/4/16): Ranked #1 across cable news in its time period among adults 25-54.
The Hunt with John Walsh Season 3 (6/19-9/4/16): Ranked #2 across cable news in its time period among both total viewers and adults 25-54.
CNN FILMS & CNN FILMS PRESENTS QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS:
CNN Films: Holy Hell premiere (Thu 9/1/16, 9p-11p): Across cable news in its time period, ranked #1 among adults 25-54, and attracted the youngest audience.
CNN Films Presents: 9/11 Fifteen Years Later premiere (Sun 9/11/16, 8p-10p): Across cable news in its time period, ranked #1 among adults 25-54, outperforming the combined delivery of Fox News and MSNBC, and attracted the youngest audience.
END OF MONTH, SEPTEMBER 2016 HIGHLIGHTS:
**Last September, CNN set an all-time record having its most watched telecast in the history of the network (back to 1993) in total viewers among Live+SD. The GOP Reagan Library Republican candidates’ debate attracted an unprecedented 23.056 million total viewers (7.106 million adults 25-54) and was the second most watched non-sports cable telecast on record (back to 1993) in total viewers among Live+SD. As a result, CNN’s prime time daypart (8-11pm) is obviously down vs. a year ago.**
Despite that in September:
CNN was #2 in cable news beating MSNBC in Total Day (total viewers 684k vs. 674k) and among adults 25-54 (206k vs. 160k).
CNN also beat MSNBC in M-Su primetime (adults 25-54 320k vs. 287k).
CNN has topped MSNBC for the 27th straight month in Total Day among both total viewers and adults 25-54, and in M-Su prime among adults 25-54. Longest streak in years.
CNN beat MSNBC in September throughout dayside (9am-4pm) programming; up +27% in total viewers and +42% among 25-54 year over year.
New Day is up vs. a year ago, up +25% in total viewers and +36% in 25-54.
Erin Burnett Outfront beat MSNBC’s Hardball in adults 25-54, growing +38% in total viewers and +40% in adults 25-54 vs. last year. CNN has now topped MSNBC in the M-F 7p hour among adults 25-54 for 27 straight months, the longest streak on record (tied with the one from August 1998 to October 2000).
Anderson Cooper 360 beat MSNBC’s All In with Chris Hayes in adults 25-54, increasing +33% in total viewers and +45% in adults 25-54 vs. last year. CNN has now outperformed MSNBC in the M-F 8p hour among adults 25-54 for 27 straight months, the longest streak since January 2006.
CNN Tonight with Don Lemon beat MSNBC’s Last Word in adults 25-54, up +98% in total viewers and +99% in adults 25-54 vs. last year. CNN has topped MSNBC in the M-F 10p hour among adults 25-54 for 26 out of the last 27 months.
CNN’s Sunday shows all rank #2 in cable news and are up double to triple digits compared to last year.
Source: The Nielsen Company, 3Q 2016 to-date (Mon 6/27/16 – Thu 9/22/16), September 2016 to-date (Mon 8/29/16 – Thu 9/22/16). Claims based on most current and complete available data, unless otherwise noted: Live (thru 12/25/05) and Live+7 (12/26/05-9/4/16) blended with Live+SD (9/5/16-9/22/16). Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown and This is Life with Lisa Ling data for September 25, 2016 based on Fast Nationals time-period data.