News and sports-focused cable networks continue to deliver the largest audiences.
ESPN was the No. 1 cable network for January 2018 in prime time, followed by Fox News. But both networks were down year-over-year, with ESPN -23 percent and Fox News -14 percent versus Jan. 2017.
Fox News assumed its usual position atop the basic cable landscape in total day, but was -18 percent from last year. This year-over-year dropoff in multiple dayparts can be attributed to significant coverage of Pres. Trump’s Jan. 2017 inauguration festivities.
MSNBC, on the other hand, earned a third place finish across all of basic cable this past month, and managed to post year-over-year growth in total prime time viewers (+61 percent) and in total day viewers (+55 percent). It’s safe to say viewers weren’t flocking to MSNBC for coverage of Pres. Trump’s inauguration. But they’re flocking to the network now.
CNN posted a No. 14 finish in total prime time viewers, and No. 8 in total day viewers for January. Similar to Fox News, CNN posted year-over-year audience losses due to its in-depth inauguration coverage last year.
Elsewhere in cable news-land, HLN was -8 percent in prime time and -10 percent in total day versus its Jan. 2017 performance. CNBC was +25 percent in prime time viewers, and +6 percent in total day. Fox Business, which covered last year’s inauguration extensively, was -16 percent in prime time, but +4 percent in total day versus last January.
Below is a look at the basic cable top 10 for January, followed by an expanded basic cable network ranker sorted by Total Viewers.
Basic Cable Top 10 (Prime Time)
- ESPN (2,994,000)
- Fox News (2,456,000)
- MSNBC (1,862,000)
- HGTV (1,515,000)
- USA (1,395,000)
- History (1,278,000)
- Investigation Discovery (1,227,000)
- Discovery (1,198,000)
- TNT (1,195,000)
- TBS (1,091,000)
Basic Cable Top 10 (Total Day)
- Fox News (1,494,000)
- ESPN (1,167,000)
- MSNBC (1,001,000)
- Nickelodeon (988,000)
- Investigation Discovery (871,000)
- HGTV (863,000)
- USA (731,000)
- CNN (713,000)
- TNT (647,000)
- History (635,000)