Even after a big Q3 2016, with massive coverage of the 2016 presidential race, CNN grew its audience in the just-completed Q3 2017.
This was CNN’s most-watched third quarter ever among total viewers and its highest Q3 delivery in the A25-54 demo in 16 years (since 2001). The network came in No. 2, behind Fox News, among younger viewers for total day viewing. CNN was up +10 percent in that measurement vs. Q3 2016.
The ratings for Q3, 2017 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):
- Prime time (Mon-Sun): 1,088,000 total viewers / 379,000 A25-54
- Total Day (Mon-Sun): 797,000 total viewers / 265,000 A25-54
Where CNN saw softness was in its prime time. Compared to Q3 2016, the network was down -11 percent in viewers and down -5 percent in the demo during the crucial prime time hours, where TV networks set premium advertising rates.
Highlights for CNN this past quarter include Early Start with Christine Romans and Dave Briggs, the network’s 4 a.m. show, which came in first in the demo. The Lead with Jake Tapper had its best quarterly performance, and finished No. 2 in the hour, and was up +14 percent in the demo vs. Q3 2016.
Erin Burnett Outfront gave the network its best 7 p.m. performance in 22 years, since Q3 1995. Anderson Cooper 360 (8 p.m.) and CNN Tonight with Don Lemon (10 p.m.) had their highest Q3 deliveries ever. Cooper was up +3 percent in the demo while Lemon grew the most of all CNN weekday prime time programming, up +17 percent in the demo and up +13 percent in total viewers.
Here’s CNN’s release:
CNN HAS MOST-WATCHED THIRD QUARTER EVER
RANKS #2 IN CABLE NEWS FOR 3Q 2017
Key Programs Set Record Ratings, Post Double-Digit Growth from Last Year
CNN Beats MSNBC for 14th Straight Quarter;
Cuts Deficit with Fox News to Smallest in 9 years
FOR THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER, CNN BEATS MSNBC IN ALL KEY DAYPARTS, PROGRAMS AMONG 25-54
CNN had its most-watched third quarter ever. The quarter ended Sunday with record high ratings throughout key dayparts and programs.
In Total Day, CNN had its most-watched third quarter ever among total viewers and its highest 3Q delivery among adults 25-54 in 16 years (since 2001). In prime time, CNN delivered its second highest 3Q since 2008 in both total viewers and the demo (25-54). During dayside programming (9am-4pm), CNN had its best 3Q delivery since 1995 in total viewers and since 2001 among adults 25-54.
Several key CNN programs also posted their highest 3Q deliveries on record among adults 25-54, including CNN’s Erin Burnett Outfront, Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, The Lead with Jake Tapper and The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer. New Day posted its second highest quarterly performance on record among both adults 25-54 and total viewers.
CNN ranked #2 in cable news this quarter, beating MSNBC once again in Total Day and dayside programming among adults 25-54. In Total Day, CNN outperformed MSNBC for the 14th straight quarter (266k vs. MSNBC’s 216k), the longest quarterly streak since 2Q 2010. In daytime, CNN topped MSNBC for the 20th straight quarter among adults 25-54 (244k vs. MSNBC’s 177k). During prime time, the competition is close, with only 6k separating CNN from MSNBC and 58k from Fox News. CNN’s weekend programming was #1 in both Total Day and prime time, easily outperforming both MSNBC and Fox News.
CNN cut the deficit with Fox News to it smallest in nine years (since 4Q-08) in Total Day among adults 25-54.
Several key CNN programs ranked #1 in cable news this quarter, posting higher demo audiences than both Fox News and MSNBC, including: Early Start with Christine Romans and Dave Briggs, State of the Union with Jake Tapper (noon) and Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter. CNN programming on Saturdays (11am-8pm and 9pm-5am) and Sundays (11am-1pm and 2pm-3am) also ranked #1 in cable news for the quarter.
Among ALL cable networks, CNN ranked #7 in Total Day and #10 in prime time among total viewers. This marks the fifth straight quarter and longest quarterly streak in nearly 22 years (since 4Q 1995) that CNN is a Top 10 Cable network among total viewers in Total Day.
(For context when comparing 3Q prime time a year ago – CNN had an unprecedented ratings lift and posted record high viewership due to the RNC and DNC convention coverage that aired during the third quarter last summer – which is why the network is down slightly vs. last year in the prime time daypart.)
Both MSNBC and Fox News’ audience skews much older than CNN’s as shown by the number of total viewers they attract vs. the key demographic adults 25-54. Year-to-date, CNN’s median age in Total Day is 60 years, Fox News and MSNBC are both 65. In prime time, CNN is 59 years, MSNBC is 65 years and Fox News has the oldest skewing audience at 66 years. CNN is tracking at its youngest yearly median age since 2008 in Total Day, while MSNBC is at its oldest on record.
CNN 3Q 2017 Program Highlights:
• Early Start with Christine Romans and Dave Briggs (4-6am) ranked #1 across cable news with 155k among adults 25-54, Fox placed second and MSNBC was third. Early Start grew +13% in the demo vs. third quarter a year ago.
• New Day with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota (6-9am) had its second highest quarterly performance on record (229k among 25-54, 644k in total viewers) and is posting its largest quarterly share (including ties) of the cable news audience on record among both 25-54 (25%) and total viewers (19%). CNN has cut the quarterly deficit vs. Fox & Friends to its smallest since 4Q-08 in the key demo (-33%). New Day grew double-digits vs. last year, increasing +36% among 25-54 and +23% in total viewers.
• CNN dayside (9am-4pm): CNN dominated MSNBC during dayside programming this month among adults 25-54 (244k vs. 177k), posting it highest 3Q performance since 2001 among 25-54 and since 1995 in total viewers. CNN dayside programming also increased +17% in the demo vs. a year ago. CNN has now topped MSNBC for the 20th straight quarter.
• The Lead with Jake Tapper (4pm) ranked #2 in cable news this quarter in the key demo 25-54 with 278k, MSNBC followed with 217k. The Lead posted its highest 3Q ratings performance in both 25-54 (278k) and total viewers (1.013m) this quarter. The Tapper-led program grew +14% in the demo compared to third quarter last year.
• The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer also had a very strong quarter, posting its highest third quarter ratings on record at both 5pm and 6pm in the demo. The Sit Room at 5pm ranked #2 in cable news in the demo (298k), increasing +12% compared to last year’s busy election year. At 6pm, the Blitzer-led show also ranked #2 (323k), up +14% vs. third quarter a year ago.
• CNN prime time (M-Su, 8-11pm) delivered its second highest 3Q performance since 2008 in both the key demo (388k) and in total viewers (1.099m). For context, when comparing 3Q prime time a year ago – CNN had an unprecedented ratings lift and posted record high viewership due to the RNC and DNC convention coverage that aired during the third quarter last summer.
• Erin Burnett Outfront (7pm) posted its highest 3Q 25-54 delivery on record and the network’s best 7pm 3Q performance since 1995. The Burnett-anchored news program ranked #2 in cable news, averaging 365k among adults 25-54, MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews ranked third with 333k. EBOF has now topped MSNBC at 7pm for the 13th straight quarter. The program grew +12% in the demo compared to third quarter last year.
• Anderson Cooper 360 (8pm) also posted its highest 3Q delivery on record, topping All in with Chris Hayes in the key demo adults 25-54 (421k vs. MSNBC’s 389k). The Cooper-led program has now outperformed MSNBC for 14 consecutive quarters. AC 360 was up +3% in the demo compared to last year’s busy political election year and was the highest rated CNN program in weekday prime time.
• While MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show has had ratings success at 9pm, CNN’s live 9pm programming had double-digit growth this quarter, increasing +15% among adults 25-54 and +10% among total viewers vs. third quarter a year ago.
• CNN Tonight with Don Lemon (10pm) had its highest 3Q delivery on record in both adults 25-54 (416k) and total viewers (1.161m) this quarter and grew the most of all CNN weekday prime time programming, increasing +17% in the demo and +13% in total viewers vs. 3Q-2016. At 11pm, the second live hour of the Lemon-led CNN Tonight (358k) ranked #2 in the demo (up +9%) and +8% among total viewers.
• CNN weekend total day ranked #1 in cable news in the demo, averaging 273k, Fox News was second with 249k and MSNBC was third with 153k among adults 25-54 this quarter. CNN was up the most in cable news increasing +34% in the demo and +18% in total viewers vs. last year.
• CNN weekend primetime was also #1 in the demo this month with 355k, Fox News followed with 278k and MSNBC had 147k. CNN grew +42% in the demo and +27% in total viewers vs. third quarter last year.
• On Saturdays, CNN New Day ranked #2 this quarter, growing double digits each hour.
• Smerconish (Saturdays 9am) ranked #2 in the demo 25-54 (297k vs. MSNBC’s 172k) and among total viewers (980k vs. MSNBC’s 733k). The program was up +33% in the key demo and +22% among total viewers vs. a year ago.
• CNN programming on Saturdays, which includes Newsroom with Fredricka Whitfield and Newsroom with Ana Cabrera, all ranked #1 in the demo 25-54 from 11am-8pm and from 9pm-5am. Each hour was also up double-digits vs. last year. On Sundays, CNN ranked #1 in cable news each hour on Sundays from 11am-1pm and 2pm-3am in the key demo 25-54, growing double digits.
• Inside Politics with John King (Sundays 8am) ranked #2 in both adults 25-54 (239k) and total viewers (798k). MSNBC ranked 3rd. The King-led program grew +27% among adults 25-54 and +15% in total viewers vs. last year.
• State of the Union with Jake Tapper (Sundays) ranked #2 in cable news at 9am in both adults 25-54 (342k) and total viewers (1.022m). The program grew +50% in the demo 25-54 and +29% in total viewers compared to third quarter year last year. The noon edition ranked #1 in cable news in the demo with 335k, Fox News followed with 246k and MSNBC was third with 206k, growing +36% from a year ago. MSNBC was a distant third at both 9am and noon. SOTU has now ranked #1 at noon for the third consecutive quarter among 25-54.
• Fareed Zakaria GPS (Sundays) ranked #2 in cable news at both 10am and 1pm among both the demo (267k/223k) and among total viewers (974k/832k). Among 25-54, the program was up double digits at 10a (+12%) and 1p (+15%).
• Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter (Sundays, 11am) ranked #1 in cable news among 25-54, posting its first quarterly win since Stelter began hosting in 2013. For the quarter, Reliable averaged 284k, Fox News’ Media Buzz followed with 272k and MSNBC’s AM Joy had 229k. The Stelter-led media program was up +25% in adults 25-54 vs. third quarter last year.
CNN 3Q 2017 Original Series, CNN Films and CNN Special Reports Highlights:
• CNN’s The Nineties (7/9-8/20/17, Sundays 9pm) was the most-watched CNN Original Series to-date (thru 9/24/17) among 25-54 and third most-watched among total viewers. The decade series ranked #1 in both demos across cable news in its time period, outperforming the combined 25-54 delivery of Fox News and MSNBC. Every episode also ranked #1 among 25-54 across cable news in its time period, outperforming the combined delivery of Fox News and MSNBC.
• CNN’s The History of Comedy Season 1 (2/9-8/13/17, Thu 10pm/Sun 10pm) was the second most-watched CNN Original Series to-date among both 25-54 and total viewers. HOC also ranked #1 among 25-54 across cable news in its time period.
• CNN’s Declassified: Untold Stories of American Spies Season 2 to-date (7/22-9/23/17, Sat 9pm) ranks #2 among 25-54 across cable news in its time period. Pacing above its Season 1 average on Sundays at 10pm by double-digit percentages among both 25-54 and total viewers.
• CNN Films: Elian Premiere (Thu 8/24/17) and CNN Films: The Reagan Show Premiere (Mon 9/4/17) attracted the youngest audience across cable news in their respective time periods. The premiere of CNN Films: Legion of Brothers (Sun 9/24/17) ranked #1 in cable news among adults 25-54 and second in total viewers in its time period.
• CNN Special Report: Secret State: Inside North Korea Premiere (Fri 9/15/17) was the #1 cable news telecast of the day among adults 25-54 and the second most-watched CNN Special Report so far in 2017 among 25-54.
End of Month September 2017 Highlights:
• CNN beat MSNBC in Total Day, dayside and prime time (M-Su and M-F) demo 25-54.
• CNN posts robust ratings growth in all key dayparts and programs
• Tops MSNBC in Total Day for 39th straight month among adults 25-54, longest monthly streak since January 2010.
• Tops MSNBC in M-Su prime time for second straight month and for 34 of the last 39 months among 25-54.
• Tops MSNBC in M-F prime time for the first time since February 2017 among 25-54.
• Tops MSNBC in daytime for the 43rd straight month among 25-54.
• CNN cut the monthly deficit with Fox News in Total Day, the prime time hours of 8pm and 9pm and weekday mornings.
• Ranks #5 in ALL of cable in Total Day and #7 in prime time in demo 25-54.
All CNN programs beat MSNBC in the demo 25-54, posting double-digit growth:
• Early Start with Christine Romans and Dave Briggs (4-6am) ranked #1 in cable news in the demo (173k); up +50% vs. last year.
• New Day with Chris Cuomo and Alisyn Camerota back on top of MSNBC’s Morning Joe (262k vs. 210k), growing the most in cable news in the morning (+74%). New Day also posted its largest monthly demo lead over Joe (+25%) since May, 2015.
• The Lead with Jake Tapper (4pm) ranks #2 in cable news, growing +39% in the demo vs. last September. MSNBC was a distant 3rd.
• The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer is #2 in cable news at both 5pm (+36%) and 6pm (+41%) posting the largest growth in cable news during those hours among 25-54. MSNBC ranked third.
• Erin Burnett Outfront (7pm) ranked #2, beating MSNBC for the second straight month in the demo (408k vs. 296k), and for 38 out of the last 39 months. The program is up 48% from last year.
• AC 360 (8pm) topped MSNBC also for the second straight month among adults 25-54 (485k vs. 344k), and for 37 of the past 39 months. The Cooper-led program is up +55% vs. last September.
• CNN Tonight with Don Lemon (10pm) topped MSNBC’s Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell for the first time since February 2017 (446k vs. 440k), growing +26% from last year. At 11pm, the second live hour of Tonight ranked #1 in cable news with 380k, Fox News followed with 344k and MSNBC’s 11th Hour with Brian Williams ranked third with 309k.
• CNN’s weekend programming ranked #1 in Total Day (358k) and prime time (419k) among adults 25-54. MSNBC was third.
• Smerconish ranked #2 in cable news at 9am (353k, up +69%) and at 6pm (210k) in the demo.
• State of the Union with Jake Tapper ranked #2 at 9am (up +91%) among 25-54 (467k). At noon, the program ranked #1 in cable news among adults 25-54 (451k) and among total viewers (1.314m), growing +110% and +41% respectively from a year ago.
• Fareed Zakaria GPS ranked #2 at 10am in the demo (268k) up +16% from last year.
• Reliable Sources with Brian Stelter was #2 in cable news at 11am (259k), increasing +23% from last September.