In weekday primetime, MSNBC skirted past CNN, both in overall audience (1.42M vs. 972K, respectively) and in the news demo (320K vs. 312K). It marks the first such Monday-Friday primetime win over CNN in more than two years.
For the full week, however, MSNBC’s news demo 264K fell short of CNN’s 272K, though MSNBC’s month to month percentage gain of 86% tops CNN’s 50%.
All that CNN vs MSNBC rivalry notwithstanding, Fox News Channel continued to dominate primetime in both metrics.
In the news demo, which is the metric of of which news ads are sold, FNC averaged 374K viewers, which was a drop 29% compared to last August. In fairness, last August FNC had telecast the first GOP debate of the 2015-15 presidential election cycle, in which Donald Trump made his debut. That debate broke cable ratings records, clocking more than 24M viewers. Which explains why, in overall audience for August 2016, FNC’s 2.08M was similarly down, year to year, by 13%.
MSNBC, meanwhile, soared by 76% to 1.13M, trouncing CNN’s 844K, though even CNN was up, year to year.
Anticipating next month’s cable-news ratings headlines: Last September, CNN telecast the second GOP debate of this election cycle, which averaged about 23M viewers – CNN’s biggest audience in its 30-year history – and about 7M news-demo viewers, and it ran a full three hours long. Which means next month you stand a good chance of reading lots about how CNN is down in September compared to same month last year.
Getting back to August stats: across the Monday-Friday work week, CNN lagged MSNBC from 7 PM (Hardball with Chris Matthews), though primetime. Hardball delivered its biggest total viewer audience since November 2008, and biggest demo audience since October 2013.
MSNBC’s weekday morning show Morning Joe beat CNN’s New Day among total viewers for the 18th straight month and, for the third month in a row, delivered the biggest total audience for the 6-9 AM timeslot in MSNBC’s 20 year history. CNN’s New Day took the news demo with a 64% jump, year to year.