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Q2 2013 Ratings: CNN Tops MSNBC in Primetime For the First Time Since 2009

With double digit growth across the board, CNN was the second most-watched cable news network for the second quarter of 2013. The network topped MSNBC in primetime in both Total Viewers and the A25-54 demographic for the first time since 2009.

The ratings for Q2 2013 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 666,000 Total Viewers / 228,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 475,000 Total Viewers / 161,000 A25-54

Compared to the second quarter of 2012, CNN was up +49% in Total Viewers and +69% in A25-54 viewers in Total Day. In primetime, the network was up +49% and +77%, respectively. It should be noted that the second quarter of 2012 was CNN’s lowest rated quarter in 21 years in primetime and lowest in 11 years in Total Day.

CNN’s daytime programming (9am-5pm) is up +44% in Total Viewers and +59% in A25-54 viewers compared to the same quarter last year. The network’s early evening shows also showed significant growth this quarter. Jake Tapper‘s 4 p.m. program was up +32% in Total Viewers and +65% in the demo. Both hours of “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” are up: +41% in Total Viewers and +77% in the demo at 5 p.m. and +67% and +133%, respectively, at 6 p.m. “Erin Burnett OutFront,” which delivered its best quarter since the show launched in 2011, is up +79% in Total Viewers and +110% in the demo.

As for the primetime shows: “Anderson Cooper 360″ is up +81% in Total Viewers and +110% in the A25-54 demographic at 8 p.m. and +45% and +59%, respectively, at 10 p.m. “Piers Morgan Live” was up +45% in Total Viewers and +67% in the demo, delivering its best quarter performance since Q1 2011, when the show launched.

More from CNN after the jump.



CNN Posts Gains in June vs. A Year Ago Posts Best Quarter Ever
CNN Digital Network Holds Lead Over Competition

For the first time in eight years (since second quarter 2005) CNN and HLN have both topped MSNBC for the quarter in total day ratings among total viewers and in the key adults 25-54 demo. MSNBC placed 4th for the quarter in total day among both total viewers and the key demo for the first time since Q2 2005. CNN placed second this quarter in primetime, topping MSNBC in M-F and M-Su prime in both total viewers and the demo for the first time since 2009. This quarter CNN registered double digit growth vs. a year ago, while MSNBC lost viewers.


CNN 476k total viewers (up +49% from a year ago) / 162k A25-54 (up +69% from a year ago)
HLN 393k total viewers (up +62%) / 142k A25-54 (up +48%)
MSNBC 361k total viewers (down -9%) / 123k A25-54 (down -5%)
FXNC 1.181m total viewers (up +12%) / 240k A25-54 (down -6%)


CNN 733k total viewers (up +56%) / 250k A25-54 (up +76%)
HLN 569k total viewers (up +75%) / 197k A25-54 (up +74%)
MSNBC 660k total viewers (down -19%) / 196k A25-54 (down -14%)
FXNC 2.208m total viewers (up +3%) / 386k A25-54 (down -12%)


CNN 673k total viewers (up +50%) / 232k A25-54 (up +78%)
HLN 524k total viewers (up +49%) / 180k A25-54 (+50%)
MSNBC 584k total viewers (down -16%) / 196k A25-54 (down -11%)
FXNC 1.904m total viewers (up +6%) / 322k A25-54 (down -11%)

CNN programs showed significant strength this quarter – some highlights include:

• Erin Burnett Outfront placed second this quarter, topping MSNBC’s Hardball in both total viewers (647k vs. 568k) and in the demo 25-54 (218k vs. 147k). The show had substantial growth over same quarter last year, increasing +79% in total viewers (647k vs. 362k) and +110% among 25-54 (218k vs. 104k). This quarter represents EBO’s best total viewer and 25-54 demo delivery since the show launched (October, 2011) and the first time CNN topped MSNBC at 7 pm since Q3-09 among total viewers and Q1-11 among A25-54.

• AC360 (8pm) out delivered MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes this quarter in both total viewers (803k vs. 588k) and the demo (271k vs. 169k). The program placed second this quarter and is also up by robust margins compared to a year ago — increasing +81% among total viewers (803k vs. 444k) and more than doubling (+110%) its 25-54 audience (271k vs. 129k). AC 360 is registering its best total viewer and demo delivery since it moved to 8pm (August, 2011) and it is the top rated show on the CNN in both P2+ and 25-54.

• Piers Morgan Live grew by double digits this quarter, increasing +45% in total viewers (720k vs. 496k) and +67% in the target demo 25-54. PML is posting its best total viewer and demo 25-54 performance since Q1-11, the quarter in which the show launched (January, 2011).

• CNN’s 10pm hour (AC 360/AC Special Reports/Various) is registering time period increases of +45% in total viewers (688k vs. 473k) and +59% among adults 25-54 (252k vs. 158k) compared to a year ago. CNN at 10pm topped MSNBC for the first time since Q2-10 in P2+ and since Q1-12 among A25-54.

• The Lead with Jake Tapper topped MSNBC during the quarter in both total viewers (595k vs. 429k) and in the key demo (168k vs. 91k). Tapper’s show was up compared to a year ago, increasing +32% in total viewers and +65% in the key demo 25-54.

• The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (6pm) placed second this quarter, registering triple digit growth (+133%) in the key demo (205k vs. 88k) and increased +67% among total viewers (621k vs. 371k). The Sit Room at 6pm topped MSNBC for the first time since Q1-11 among total viewers and since Q3-11 among A25-54.

• CNN Newsroom (9am-4pm) easily topped MSNBC throughout the day, placing second among total viewers (535k vs. 315k) and in 25-54 (164k vs. 85k); while MSNBC placed 4th. CNN also grew significantly, up +47% in P2+ and +58% among 25-54 compared to a year ago.

• Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown debuted in Q2 2013 and dominated its Sunday 9pm time period and registered impressive growth. Over the course of its first season, the program was: #1 in its time period across all cable news networks among the key P25-54 demographic (405k), more than doubling the delivery of its nearest competitor (FXNC). The show increased +153% among A25-54 versus the time period performance four weeks prior to its launch.


In June, CNN continued to post growth in all day parts while MSNBC is down and FXNC had demo losses each weekday hour vs. a year ago. Specifically in M-F primetime, CNN is up +10% in total viewers and +8% among A25-54, while MSNBC is down -20% in P2+ and -18% in demo and FXNC is off -7%/-23% respectively. And in M-Su prime CNN is up +11%/+20%, while MSNBC is off -16%/-12% and FXNC is down -5%/-20. This month CNN topped MSNBC in total day among total viewers (357k vs. 336k). CNN also grew in total day, increasing +18% in total viewers and +19% in the demo, while MSNBC lost viewers (-8%/-7%) and FXNC had slight total viewer gains but demo declines (+3%/-12%) vs. a year ago.

New Day is showing tremendous growth vs. CNN programming a year ago – increasing +53% in total viewers (303k vs. 198k) and +23% in the target demo (106k vs. 86k) while Morning Joe is down -6% in total viewers (351k vs. 375k) and is off -21% (107k vs. 136k). Since launch (June 17-28), New Day is off to a solid start, posting 303k total viewers (vs. MSNBC’s Morning Joe’s 351k) and 106k in the 25-54 demo (vs. Joe’s 107k).


Up double digits over the same period last year, Q2 of 2013 was’s strongest quarter on record in both page views and video starts.

For the quarter, posted:
• 1.6 billion average monthly page views, up 56% over Q2 2012.
• 111 million average monthly video starts, up 70% over 2012.
• 104 million average monthly unique visitors, up 20% over 2012

The quarter’s top story, Photos: Deadly attack at Boston Marathon earned more than 80 million page views and the top video, Blasts near Boston Marathon finish line had more than 3.1 million starts.

*Source: Adobe SiteCatalyst, April – June 2013.

In Q2 2013 the CNN Digital Network maintained its strong lead over its cable news competitors, averaging 72.2 mm unique visitors and more than 2.1 billion page views per month to-date.
Uniques PV
CNN Digital Network: 72 mm 2.1 B
NBC News Digital: 59 mm 1.1 B
Fox News Digital Network: 35 mm 1.1 B

*Source: comScore Media Metrix, April – May 2013 monthly average(latest data available).

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