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Q3 2012 Ratings: CNN Still Down Compared To Last Year

Despite lots of strong news stories, including the crisis in Libya, the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, and plenty of political news, CNN still saw viewership declines in both total day and primetime compared to the same quarter last year.

The ratings for Q3 2012:

  • Primetime (Mon-Sun): 616,000 Total Viewers / 188,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 388,000 Total Viewers / 118,000 A25-54

In Total Day, the network is down -18% in Total Viewers and -25% in the A25-54 demo. In primetime, CNN is down -9% in Total Viewers and -14% in the demo. All that said, the declines were not as stark as they were last quarter, and CNN saw substantial ratings gains from Q2.

The highest-rated program on CNN in total viewers was “Piers Morgan Tonight,” with “AC360″ leading in the demo. Both of those programs were down double digits compared to the same quarter last year. While every hour of CNN’s lineup was down compared to Q3 2011, the hour that saw the least drop-off was the 8 PM airing of “AC360,” which was down only -13% in total viewers and -17% in the demo.

There was some good news for CNN in September, however. The network was up +31% in total viewers and +26% in the demo in primetime compared to last September. The network was also up slightly in total day viewers. “Erin Burnett OutFront” had her best showing yet in total viewers since her program launched last year.

In other words, Q3 remained tough, but September at least raised the possibility that ratings could be on the rise in advance of the November election.

CNN’s spin, after the jump.

HIGHLIGHTS:

CNN showed primetime gains in September vs. a year ago;
Erin Burnett has best month ever;
AC 360 (10pm) is highest rated show on the network in the key demo;
Piers Morgan is highest rated show on the network in total viewers;
September represents CNN’s 4th month of growth in both total viewers and demo in total day since May 2012 lows;

CNN has significant growth this quarter vs. last quarter (Q3 2012 vs. Q2 2012);
FNC is down the most in primetime in Q3 vs. a year ago.

September 2012 vs. a Year Ago:

Prime (M-F): up +37% in total viewers (1.058m vs. 773k)/up +35% (345k vs. 255k)
Total Day: up +5% in total viewers (473k vs. 449k)

September Show Highlights:
OutFront with Erin Burnett is up +6% in total viewers (528k vs. 498k). September represents Burnett’s best showing ever since her October launch a year ago among total viewers (528k).
AC 360 at 8p is posting its best delivery in total viewers (606k) since November 2011 and its best since February of this year in the key demo (179k).
Piers Morgan Tonight is up +3% in total viewers (651k vs. 629k). This month also represents Morgan’s best month in both total viewers (651k) and demo (186k) since February this year.
State of the Union with Candy Crowley (9 am) is up +18% in total viewers (385k vs. 325k).
Fareed Zakaria: GPS (10 am) is up +15% in total viewers (509k vs. 443k).

Piers Morgan Tonight remains the top program on CNN in total viewers during the month of September (651k) and AC 360 at 10 pm is the network’s top rated show in the key demo 25-54 (187k).

During the month of September, CNN reached a cumulative audience of 94.4million, FNC followed with 83.2m and MSNBC had 81.4m.

Third Quarter 2012 vs. Last Quarter:

All CNN programs are up Q3 vs. last quarter (Q2 2012) in both total viewers and key demo 25-54
CNN grew the most in primetime (3Q vs. 2Q 2012)

Prime (M-F): up +46% in total viewers (686k vs. 470k)/up +52% in demo (216k vs. 142k)
Total Day: up +22% in total viewers (388k vs. 319k)/up +23% in demo (118k vs. 96k)

Show Highlights:
Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien is up +16% in total viewers (263k vs. 227k)/up +15% in demo (99k vs. 86k)
Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (6 pm) is up +26% in total viewers (469k vs. 371k)/up +45% in demo (128k vs. 88k)
OutFront with Erin Burnett is up +19% in total viewers (429k vs. 362k)/up +20% in demo (125k vs. 104k)
Anderson Cooper 360 (8pm) is up +20% in total viewers (532k vs. 444k)/up +21% in demo (156k vs. 129k)
Piers Morgan Tonight is up +11% in total viewers (553k vs. 496k)/up +12% in demo (154k vs. 138k)
AC 360 (10pm) is up +5% in total viewers (495k vs. 473k)/up +6% in demo (167k vs. 158k)

Piers Morgan had the highest rated show on the network in total viewers during the third quarter (553k)
Anderson Cooper had the highest rated show on the network in the key demo 25-54 during the third quarter (167k)

Compared to a year ago, Fox News in primetime is down the most in the key demo 25-54 Q3 vs. a year ago (Q3 2011) – declining -10% (487k vs. 539k), CNN is off -7% (216k vs. 233k) and MSNBC is up +34k (341k vs. 254k).

During the third quarter of 2012, more Americans watched the presidential conventions on CNN than any other cable news channel. In primetime (8-11p), CNN reached a cumulative audience of 30.3 million total viewers and 11.9 million among the key demo A25-54 during the RNC/DNC 6- day rollup. Fox News followed with 30.2m total viewers and 10.6m in adults 25-54, while MSNBC garnered 21.1m total viewers and 8.3m in the key demo adults 25-54.

For the third quarter, CNN reached an average monthly cumulative audience of 86.6million, FNC had 76.8m and MSNBC (excluding Olympics programming) averaged 76.7m.

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