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MSNBC beats CNN for 22nd straight month


MSNBC swept CNN for the 22nd straight month in total viewers and posted viewership gains across key dayparts versus the prior year while CNN and FOX News faced declines, according to Nielsen data. Compared to two years ago, MSNBC was the only cable news network to have viewership growth among both demos.

MSNBC also expanded its audience, adding more viewers year over year than any other Top 25 cable network (+60K versus January 2023). MSNBC slashed FOX News’ lead year over year by 24% among A25-54 and by 23% among total viewers.

MSNBC’s total day viewership (M-Su 6am-6am) increased versus a year ago (+9% vs. Jan. 2023) and versus two years ago (+16% vs. Jan.  2022), while both FOX News (-7%) and CNN (-12%) had declines year over year. MSNBC total day ranked #2 among all cable news networks for the 22nd consecutive month, beating CNN for 35 of the last 36 months, and ranked #3 among all cable networks in total day viewership (#1 FOX News, #2 ESPN). MSNBC had year over year viewership gains among both demos during weekday mornings and (6-10am: +19% total viewers; +8% A25-54) and dayside (10am-4pm: +5% total viewers; +4% A25-54), while FOX News and CNN had declines. From 4pm to midnight, MSNBC had growth among total viewers (+3%). The average MSNBC viewer watched the network for an average of 475 minutes from Monday to Friday, doubling the CNN viewer average (235 minutes).

In weekday prime (M-F 8-11pm), MSNBC beat CNN for the 86th straight month in total viewers (1.4M vs. CNN’s 700K). MSNBC expanded its viewer advantage over CNN (+678K) compared to a year ago (+667K). MSNBC’s primetime lineup ranked #2 among all cable news nets (behind #1 FOX News) and #3 in all of cable in January. MSNBC primetime also draws twice as many Independents and Republicans as CNN, according to data from Nielsen MRI Fusion. 

“The Rachel Maddow Show” (Mondays at 9pm) was the #1 cable news program in its time slot. “Maddow (2.2M) drew nearly six times as many viewers as CNN’s “The Source” on Monday nights (370K) and 26% more viewers than Monday telecasts of Hannity (1.7M). “The Rachel Maddow Show” also more than doubled CNN’s A25-54 audience (168K vs. 70K)

“Inside with Jen Psaki” (Mondays at 8pm) outpaced CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” for the fourth consecutive month. “Inside” improved the time-period average year over year among both demos (+7% total viewers and +20% A25-54) while CNN declined.

MSNBC beat CNN on a contested GOP Iowa Caucus Night (8P-11P) for the first time ever, averaging 1.2M total viewers vs. CNN’s 707K (+67% advantage).

For the first time ever, MSNBC beat CNN among both Adults 25-54 and total viewers on the day of the New Hampshire Primary. MSNBC averaged 959K total viewers (vs. CNN’s 515K, +86% advantage) and 121K A25-54 (vs. CNN’s 107K, +13% advantage). Additionally, FOX News had its smallest viewership advantage over MSNBC on a New Hampshire Primary Day in 16 years (2008).

“Morning Joe” (M-F 6-10am) continues to sweep CNN in the mornings, beating CNN in A25-54 for the 21st straight month (102K vs. CNN’s 71K) and in total viewers for the 107th consecutive month (1.0M vs. CNN’s 367K). Across all of cable, MSNBC ranked #2 for the 35th straight month in the mornings. “Morning Joe” was the #1 cable morning program in New York for the 20th straight month and Washington D.C. for the 21st consecutive month. 

In dayside (M-F 10am-4pm), MSNBC ranked #2 in all of cable among total viewers and beat CNN for the 16th month in a row (792K vs. CNN’s 617K).

MSNBC’s premiere of “The Weekend” (Saturday and Sunday 8-10am), debuted to the largest weekend morning audience in 14 weeks (642K). On premiere day (Jan 13.), “The Weekend” topped every CNN program that day. “The Weekend” ended the month with its highest ratings to date among both demos. MSNBC’s weekend programming (Sa-Su6am-6am) beat CNN in total viewers (430K vs. CNN’s 387K), and weekend prime (Sa-Su 8pm-11pm) beat CNN in total viewers (387K vs. CNN’s 369K). 

The following programs extended MSNBC’s winning streaks over CNN during their respective time slots:

Way Too Early” at 5am: 22 straight months

Morning Joe” from 6am-10am: 107 straight months in total viewers; 21 straight months A25-54 #1 in all of cable in New York 20th straight month and Washington, D.C. 21ststraight month

Ana Cabrera Reports” at 10am; 20 straight months

José Díaz-Balart Reports” at 11am: 11 straight months

Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 12pm: 14 straight months

Chris Jansing Reports” from 1pm-3pm: 20 straight months

Katy Tur Reports” at 3pm: 21 straight months

Deadline: White House” from 4pm-6pm: 79 straight months in total viewers

“Deadline” also won among A25-54 for the second time in 3 months

The Beat with Ari Melber” at 6pm: 45 straight months

“The Beat” was also among A25-54 for 3 straight months (12 of the last 14 months)

The ReidOut” at 7pm: 22 straight months

“The ReidOut” also won among A25-54

Inside with Jen Psaki” Mondays at 8pm for 4 months

All In with Chris Hayes” at 8pm: 22 straight months

The Rachel Maddow Show” at 9pm: 128 straight months; and in A2554 for the 22nd straight month

Alex Wagner Tonight” at 9pm: 18 straight months

The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” at 10pm: 104 straight months

Second straight month topping CNN among A25-54 (14 of last 17 months)

The 11th Hour with Stephanie Ruhle” at 11pm: 90 straight months

Second straight month topping CNN among A25-54 (15 of last 18 months)

MSNBC’s programming attracts the most diverse cable news audience in America, beating CNN and FOX News among Black and Hispanic viewers in January. MSNBC has ranked #1 in cable news among Black viewers for 36 straight months and ranks #2 in all of cable behind ESPN. Among Hispanic Viewers, MSNBC has ranked #1 in cable news for 10 straight months.

MSNBC Digital had one of its strongest months ever on multiple social platforms, including TikTok and YouTube. January was MSNBC’s best month ever on TiKTok with video views growing more than 116% year-over-year on the platform.  MSNBC is also pacing to have one of its top five months ever on YouTube with more than 250 million video views. MSNBC is also currently ahead of both CNN and FOX News on the platform, a position it’s held for the last three consecutive months. MSNBC has seen 19 videos reach more than one million views on YouTube this month. 

In December, MSNBC Digital saw 25 million unique visitors, growing 50% year-over-year. It ended the year as the second largest Political News entity based on monthly unique visitors, surpassing CNN Politics for the first time on record.  

TV Source: Nielsen. Live+SD. January 2024 ratings data. Average audience based on Total Day (6am-6am), Persons 2+, unless indicated. Program averages exclude repeats. Note: The Rachel Maddow Show statistics are based on data from 1/8/24 only; Maddow and competitor averages are based only on days when The Rachel Maddow Show aired.

Digital Source: Comscore Media Metrix® , April 2021 – December 2023, U.S. desktop internet population 2+ and mobile internet population 13+ years old. ListenFirst for YouTube and TikTok video views, January 2024. DAVD for Peacock, January 2024.

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