MSNBC Overtakes CNN in Total Audience in 1Q17, Shattering Ratings Records

MSNBC Overtakes CNN in Total Audience in 1Q17, Shattering Ratings Records

According to Nielsen, MSNBC beat CNN in total viewers during weekday prime (M-F 8-11pm) and total day (M-F 6am-2am) for the first quarter of 2017. MSNBC also drew the network's largest total audiences ever for the quarter in many key dayparts, including weekday prime, total day and dayside (M-F 9am-5pm).

More people turned to MSNBC during total day (M-F 6am-2am) over CNN in the first quarter of 2017. For this daypart, MSNBC was the 3rdmost-watched cable network (behind Fox News and Nickelodeon). MSNBC was the 3rdfastest growing cable network in both total and A25-54 demo audiences over 1Q16. For the month of March 2017, MSNBC total day topped CNN in total viewers for the 2ndconsecutive month and delivered the network's best month ever.

Driven by growing momentum and some of the best reporting on the current political climate, "The Rachel Maddow Show" at 9pm finished March 2017 as the #1 cable news show in the key A25-54 demo in the M-F 9-10pm time period. This marks the first time MSNBC has been #1 in the A25-54 demo during that time period ever, and the first time in almost five years since MSNBC beat Fox News in the demo in any hour for the month (previous was "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" in December 2012). "The Rachel Maddow Show" and MSNBC had its best total viewer delivery in the time period ever in the show's eight-and-a-half years or network's 20-year history and the best A25-54 delivery since November 2008. "The Rachel Maddow Show's" total audience was up +106% over March 2016, while CNN was flat (+3%) and Fox News was up +11%. In the A25-54 demo, "The Rachel Maddow Show" grew +103% year-over-year, besting CNN (+14%) - attaining its biggest lead over CNN since February 2014 - and Fox News (+18%). For the first quarter of 2017, "The Rachel Maddow Show" beat CNN in both total viewers and A25-54. The show delivered its best total viewer delivery ever and best A25-54 delivery in the time period since 4Q08.

"Morning Joe" at 6am ranked #2 among all cable networks in the time period for total viewers, continuing its winning streak over CNN's "New Day" (ranked #7) for the 8thstraight quarter. "Morning Joe" delivered its best quarter ever and posted the biggest total viewer audience in the 6-9am time period in MSNBC's history. "Morning Joe" also capped off March 2017 beating CNN for the 25thstraight month and posting a gain of +43% in total viewers (vs. CNN's +9%) - its biggest lead over CNN.

MSNBC's weekday primetime programming (M-F 8-11pm) in 1Q17 topped CNN in total viewers for the 4thstraight quarter and delivered its largest A25-54 demo audience in five years (since 4Q12). MSNBC prime's year-to-year growth more than quadrupled its competition in total viewers (+68% vs. CNN's -18% and FOX News' +16%) and more than tripled the growth of its competition in A25-54 demo (+54% vs. CNN's -12% and FOX News' +15%) compared to 1Q16. MSNBC prime was the 3rdmost-watched network in all of cable for the quarter in total viewers, behind only Fox News and ESPN. MSNBC is the 2ndfastest-growing cable network in weekday prime for both total and demo audiences (behind MLB Network) - the largest absolute gain of any cable network over 1Q16 for both demos.

Three more MSNBC programs each beat CNN among total viewers and also delivered their respective time period's largest total audiences ever for the quarter: "Hardball with Chris Matthews" at 7pm, "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" at 10pm and "The 11thHour with Brian Williams" at 11pm. "Hardball" topped CNN in total viewers for the 15thstraight quarter and posted the best total viewer average in the hour ever and its best demo average in five years (since 4Q12). "All In" delivered the network's largest audience for the time period in nine years (since 4Q08) and best A25-54 delivery in five years (since 4Q12). "The Last Word" delivered MSNBC's best total viewer delivery in the hour ever and best A25-54 delivery (since 4Q12). "The 11thHour" topped CNN for the 3rdstraight quarter and soared over its competition in total viewer growth (+144% vs. CNN's +47% and FOX News' +12%) and in A25-54 (+109% vs. CNN's +53% and FOX News' +5%) - delivering the best demo audience in the time period in 16 years (since 4Q01). "The Last Word" and "The 11thHour" also bested CNN in the A25-54 demo in March 2017.

Propelled by MSNBC's unique ability to draw on the talent and resources of NBC News and its revamped breaking news strategy during the day, MSNBC dayside (M-F 9am-5pm) drew MSNBC's biggest total viewer audience ever, becoming the fastest growing cable news network and 2ndfastest growing cable network at 9am-5pm for the quarter (after Oxygen). Dayside has delivered seven straight quarters of growth and posted higher rating gains than the competition (+59% vs. CNN's +30% and FOX News' +34%) in 1Q17 over 1Q16. For the month, MSNBC dayside delivered the network's best total viewer delivery ever in the time period. Dayside was up +57% over March 2016, the closest to CNN since February 2014.

In March 2017 to-date, MSNBC.com, its mobile app and OTT platforms have had more video starts than ever before and are on track to have their best month and quarter ever. (Omniture)

NOTE: 1Q17 ratings are based on Nielsen Live+Same data for 12/26/16-3/23/17.

1Q 2017 PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

TOTAL DAY (M-F 6am-2am)

  • MSNBC topped CNN in total viewers during the M-F 6am-2am time period.
  • Among all cable networks, MSNBC ranked #3 (behind only Fox News and Nickelodeon) in the 6am-2am time period in total viewers.
  • MSNBC is the 3rd fastest growing cable network in total viewers (behind MLB Network and Oxygen) and A25-54 demo (behind MLB Network and TV Land) during the time period.
  • Total day marked the 7th straight quarter of growth in total viewers.

MORNING JOE (M-F 6-9am)

  • "Morning Joe" ranked #2 among all cable networks in the time period for total viewers, continuing its winning streak over CNN's "New Day" (ranked #6) for the 8th straight quarter.
  • "Morning Joe" delivered its best total viewer audience for MSNBC in the 6-9am time period. "Morning Joe" was up +35% in total viewers and up +20% in the A25-54 demo over 1Q16.
  • "Morning Joe" averaged 790,000 total viewers (ahead of CNN's 581,000) and 181,000 viewers A25-54.

DAYSIDE (M-F 9am-5pm)

  • MSNBC dayside drew the network's biggest total viewer audience ever, and was the second fastest growing cable network at 9am-5pm for the quarter (after only Oxygen).
  • Dayside has delivered seven straight quarters of growth. Its year-to-year growth continues to top the competition, posting gains of +59% in total viewers (vs. +30% for CNN and +34% for FOX) over 1Q16.
  • Among all of cable networks in the 9am-5pm time period, MSNBC ranked #5, up from #10 in 1Q16.
  • "Andrea Mitchell Reports" (12-1pm) was up +58% in total viewers (vs. CNN's +30% and FOX News' +31%) and up +44% in A25-54 demo (vs. FOX News' +37%) over 1Q16. It was also the program's best total viewer delivery in the hour ever for the quarter.

EARLY EVENING (M-F 5-8pm)

  • "MTP Daily with Chuck Todd" (5-6pm), posted the 5pm time period's best total viewer average in nearly five years (since 4Q12) and delivered more growth in A25-54 than the competition (+59% vs. CNN's +44% and FOX News' +44%).
  • "For the Record with Greta" (6-7pm), delivered the 6pm time period's best total viewer and A25-54 audiences (since 4Q12). The program also posted more growth than the competition in total viewers (+59% vs. CNN's +31% and FOX News' +26%) and A25-54 demo (+74% vs. CNN's +41% and FOX News' +39%).
  • "Hardball with Chris Matthews" (7-8pm) topped CNN in total viewers for the 15th straight quarter. 1Q17 marks "Hardball's" best total viewer average ever, posting a gain of +47% (vs. CNN's +30% and FOX News' +30%) in total viewers over 1Q16. "Hardball" posted the hour's best demo average since 4Q12, up +57% (vs. CNN's +45% and FOX News' +53%) in A25-54 over 1Q16.

WEEKDAY PRIME (M-F 8-11pm)

  • MSNBC beat CNN in total viewers for the 4th straight quarter and delivered its largest A25-54 demo audience in five years (since 4Q12).
  • MSNBC prime's year-to-year growth was more than its competition in total viewers (+68% vs. CNN's -18% and FOX News' +16%) and more than tripled the growth of its competition in A25-54 demo (+54% vs. CNN's -12% and FOX News' +15%) compared to 1Q16. This is MSNBC prime's 7th straight quarter of growth in total viewers and the 3rd straight quarter of growth in the demo.
  • MSNBC prime was the 3rd most-watched network in all of cable for the quarter, behind only Fox News and ESPN. MSNBC is the second fastest-growing cable network in weekday prime for both total and demo audiences (behind MLB Network) - the largest absolute gain of any cable network over 1Q16.
  • MSNBC prime averaged 1.83 million total viewers (ahead of CNN's 1.31 million) and 415,000 viewers A25-54.
  • "All In with Chris Hayes" (8-9pm) delivered the network's largest total viewer average for the time period in nine years (since 4Q08) and best A25-54 average in five years (since 4Q12).
  • Compared to 1Q16, "All In" more than doubled the growth of its competition in total viewers (+71% vs. CNN's +18% and FOX News' +19%) and the A25-54 demo (+69% vs. CNN's +35% and FOX News' +30%).
  • "The Rachel Maddow Show" (9-10pm) ranked #2 in both total viewers and the demo, beating CNN in the demo. The show also bested CNN in total viewers for the 30th straight quarter in 1Q17.
  • "The Rachel Maddow Show" delivered its biggest total viewer audience ever and biggest demo audience since 4Q08.
  • Compared to 1Q16, "The Rachel Maddow Show" is up +91% in total viewers (vs. +51% for CNN and +29% for FOX News) and up +87% in the demo (vs. +68% for CNN and +53% for FOX News).
  • "The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell" (10-11pm) delivered MSNBC's best total viewer average in the hour ever and best A25-54 average since 4Q08.
  • "The Last Word" posted more growth than CNN and Fox News in total viewers (+92% vs. CNN's +52% and FOX News' +44%) and the A25-54 demo (+78% vs. CNN's +63% and FOX News' +49%) over 1Q16.

THE 11TH HOUR WITH BRIAN WILLIAMS (M-Th 11-11:30pm)