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March & Q1 2012 Ratings: MSNBC Reclaims Second Place in Cable News

MSNBC beat CNN in both primetime and Total Day this month to reclaim the outright #2 spot among the cable news networks.

Compared to the same month last year, MSNBC was up +3% in Total Viewers and down -3% in A25-54 in Total Day viewing. In Primetime, MSNBC was flat in Total Viewers and down -7% in A25-54 viewers. In March 2011, all of the cable networks devoted heavy coverage to the Japan earthquake and tsunami and the Arab Spring.

The ratings for March, 2012:

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 857K Total Viewers / 257K A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 475K Total Viewers / 155K A25-54

For Q1 2012, MSNBC was up +1% in Total Viewers and down -6% in A25-54 viewers in Total Day. MSNBC is the only cable news network to grow in Total Viewers compared to the year-ago quarter. In primetime, the network was down -3% in Total Viewers and -11% in the demo.

The ratings for Q1, 2012:

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 830K Total Viewers / 237K A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 460K Total Viewers / 144K A25-54

Despite a -7% decrease in Total Viewers, “Morning Joe” continues to show strength among younger viewers, posting a +12% increase in the A25-54 demo compared to March 2011.

MSNBC’s early primetime performed well this month. “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 5pmET is up +23% in Total Viewers and +6% in A24-54 viewers. The 6pmET hour of programming — now Al Sharpton‘s “PoliticsNation” –  is up +32% in Total Viewers and up +18% in A25-54 viewers compared to March 2011, when the hour was hosted by Cenk Uygur.

The later primetime hours are more of a mixed bag. At 9pmET, “The Rachel Maddow Show” is down -4% in Total Viewers and -12% in A25-54 viewers.

Ed Schultz has improved the 8pmET timeslot +5% in Total Viewers but down -2% in the demo. At 10pmET, “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” is basically flat: -1% in Total Viewers and -3% in the demo. Schultz and O’Donnell swapped timeslots over the summer.

Here’s MSNBC’s full release:

MSNBC TOPS CNN FOR 1Q 2012

MSNBC beats CNN in both Total Day and Primetime

NEW YORK – March 27, 2012 – MSNBC topped CNN in both total viewers and A25-54 for the first quarter of 2012, according to data from Nielsen Media Research.

During a quarter where CNN’s ratings were elevated due to three Republican Presidential debates, MSNBC continued to top CNN in the morning with “Way Too Early,” “Morning Joe” and “The Daily Rundown” and in primetime with “Hardball,” “PoliticsNation,” “The Ed Show,” “The Rachel Maddow Show,” and “The Last Word.” MSNBC topped CNN in total viewers (979,000 vs. 820,000) for the quarter in weekday primetime and Monday – Sunday primetime (825,000 vs. 755,000). MSNBC was also #2 in primetime among the A25-54 demo for the month of March 2012 (M-F Prime 270,000 vs. 208,000, M-Su Prime 256,000 vs. 189,000).

Additionally, MSNBC was the only cable news network to grow in daytime, up 13% in A25-54 and 17% in total viewers from 1Q11, while CNN is down double-digits with A25-54 and total viewers in each daytime hour (9a-5p) from last year.

Following are MSNBC’s morning and primetime ratings highlights for 1Q2012:

· At 5:30 a.m. “Way Too Early” was #2 in all key demos, beating CNN in total viewers (207,000 vs. 148,000) and A25-54 (93,000 vs. 66,000). “Way Too Early” is up 3% in A25-54 compared to 1Q11.

· “Morning Joe” ranked #2 topping CNN in total viewers for the 9th consecutive quarter (426,000 vs. 217,000) and the 4th straight quarter among A25-54 (150,000 vs. 89,000). “Morning Joe” is up 13% in A25-54 compared to 1Q11, the only cable news show to show growth in the time period. CNN’s morning line-up had the lowest quarterly delivery in the time period in more than a decade (since 2Q01) and dropped 38% in A25-54 and 33% in total viewers compared to 1Q11.

· “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 5 p.m. ranked #2 in total viewers (797,000 vs. 576,000) and A25-54 (149,000 vs. 135,000). “Hardball” is up 17% among total viewers compared to 1Q11, more growth than all other cable news programs in the hour combined and up 5% in A25-54 over 1Q11, the only cable news program to post growth in the hour. CNN is down 34% in A25-54 and 21% in total viewers from 1Q11.

· “PoliticsNation” with Al Sharpton at 6 p.m. ranked #2 among total viewers (776,000 vs. 459,000) and in A25-54 for the 2nd straight quarter, topping CNN by 36% (173,000 vs. 127,000). “PoliticsNation” is up 13% with A25-54 from 1Q11, the only cable news program to post growth in the hour and up 18% with total viewers from 1Q11, more growth than all other cable news programs in the hour combined. CNN’s “John King USA” had the lowest total viewer delivery in the time period since 3Q03 and is down 41% in A25-54 and 32% in total viewers compared to 1Q11.

· “Hardball with Chris Matthews” at 7 p.m. topped CNN by 50% among A25-54 for the quarter (199,000 vs. 133,000) and 90% among total viewers (813,000 vs. 430,000). “Hardball” at 7 p.m. is up 11% among total viewers compared to 1Q11, the only cable news program to grow in the hour. CNN’s “Erin Burnett Outfront” is down 34% in A25-54 and 29% among total viewers compared to the time period 1Q11. This was the lowest total viewer delivery in the time period for CNN since 3Q10.

·At 8 p.m., “The Ed Show” topped CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360” by 25% in A25-54 (216,000 vs. 173,000) and by 83% in total viewers (993,000 vs. 544,000). CNN is down 14% in A25-54 and 16% in total viewers from 1Q11 and had the lowest total viewer delivery since 4Q10.

· The Rachel Maddow Show at 9 p.m. beat CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight” by 73% among total viewers (1.037 million vs. 599,000) and by 51% in A25-54 (272,000 vs. 180,000). Maddow also ranked #1 with A18-34. CNN is down 40% in A25-54 and 36% among total viewers from 1Q11. This is CNN’s lowest total viewer quarterly delivery since 3Q10.

· “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” ranked #2 at 10 p.m. and beat CNN in total viewers by 33% (922,000 vs. 693,000). “The Last Word” is up 5% in total viewers compared to 1Q11, more growth in the hour than all other cable news programs combined. CNN is down 20% in A25-54 and 19% in total viewers from 1Q11.

· MSNBC is #1 in delivering African American total viewers among cable news channels for the 9th straight quarter in Monday – Sunday Primetime.

MSNBC’s daytime program highlights include:

· At 9 a.m. “The Daily Rundown” with Chuck Todd topped CNN to rank #2 for the second consecutive quarter among total viewers. Among A25-54, the program grew 27% compared to 1Q11, the only cable news program to grow in the hour.

· “Jansing & Co.” at 10 a.m. grew 32% in the A25-54 demographic and 10% in total viewers vs. 1Q11, the only cable news program to grown in the hour.

· At 11 a.m. “MSNBC Live” with Thomas Roberts was up 28% among A25-54 compared to 1Q11, the only cable news program growth in the hour and 13% in total viewers vs. 1Q11, more growth than all other cable news programs in the hour combined.

· “Now with Alex Wagner” at noon was up 12% among A25-54 and 9% in total viewers compared to 1Q11, the only cable news growth in the hour.

· “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at 1 p.m. was up 4% in total viewers from 1Q11, posting the only cable news growth in the hour.

· “NewsNation” with Tamron Hall at 2 p.m. grew 21% in total viewers compared to1Q11, posting the only growth by a cable news program in the hour.

· At 3 p.m. “Martin Bashir” was up 41% in total viewers and 15% in A25-54 for the quarter vs. 1Q11, posting the only growth by a cable news program in the hour.

· “The Dylan Ratigan Show” at 4 p.m. grew 38% in total viewers and 1% in A25-54 compared to 1Q11, the only cable news program growth in the hour.

· MSNBC’s new weekend line-up also showed growth in the first quarter of 2012. On Saturdays, “Weekends with Alex Witt” at 7 a.m. ranked #2 among A25-54, up 10% compared to 1Q11, the only growth in the hour. “Up with Chris Hayes” ranked #2 with A25-54 and increased 28% in total viewers compared to 1Q11, more growth in the time period than all other cable news outlets combined. “Melissa Harris-Perry” (from Feb.18-March 25) was up 3% among total viewers and 1% in A25-54 compared to 1Q11.

· On Sundays, “Up with Chris Hayes” from 8 a.m.-10 a.m. grew 19% in total viewers vs.1Q11 and ranked #1 in A18-34. “Melissa Harris-Perry” from 10a-noon (From Feb 18-March 25) ranked #1 among A18-34 and “Weekends with Alex Witt” from noon – 2p (Feb. 18-March 25) was #1 with A18-34 (tied CNN).

· MSNBC Longform Weekend Prime (Sa/Su 7p-2a) ranked #1 in A25-54 for the 8th consecutive quarter and #1 with younger viewers A18-34 for the 26th quarter.

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