CNN Stumbles in Prime Time Television Viewership, Says Ratings Agency

June 5, 2019 Updated: June 5, 2019

CNN’s prime time viewership has declined throughout the month of May, a ratings agency has revealed.

The latest Nielsen TV ratings show CNN has fallen to third place in prime time viewing, trailing behind Fox News and MSNBC.

CNN received a 9 percent blow to its total prime time viewership, 16 percent drop in total day viewers, and 31 percent fall in the total day demographic compared to what the network averaged in May 2018, according to TVNewser.

CNN also no longer features in the top 15 basic cable networks in total prime time viewers altogether.

Nielsen’s Live+ same day data for May shows CNN had 761,000 prime time viewers, compared to Fox News’s 2.395 million and MSNBC’s 1.66 million viewership, according to Forbes.

CNN also suffered a 41 percent drop in the highly coveted advertising demographic of viewers, who are aged between 25 and 54, with just 198,000 viewers in demo compared to Fox’s 389,000 and MSNBC’s 255,000.

President Donald Trump shared the sentiment that CNN was not performing at its best.

“CNN is the primary source of news available from the U.S. After watching it for a short while, I turned it off,” Donald Trump wrote on Twitter from London.

The president questioned the pay TV company’s reporting ethics.

“All negative & so much Fake News, very bad for U.S. Big ratings drop,” he wrote, adding in a subsequent tweet, “It is so unfair with such bad, Fake News.”

Trump suggested disenchanted CNN viewers could stop using AT&T to force the TV company’s owner to intervene.

“I believe that if people stopped using or subscribing to AT&T, they would be forced to make big changes at CNN, which is dying in the ratings anyway,” Trump wrote. “Why wouldn’t they act? When the world watches CNN, it gets a false picture of USA. Sad!”

April 2019 has been a difficult month for other broadcasters too, with Fox experiencing a 19 percent decline and MSNBC a 36 percent fall compared to the same time in 2018.

April saw CNN suffer its lowest-rated month among total viewers in nearly four years, since October 2015. CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, which has been the network’s highest-rated hour, drew a total audience of 917,000 viewers in April, the show’s worst-ever performance.

Cuomo Prime Time was CNN’s highest rating news program in both total viewership and among adults aged between 25 and 54 during May.

“Cuomo Prime Time (9pm) is once again CNN’s top-rated news program in both total viewers (946k) and among adults 25-54 (230k),” the company said in a statement.

This program was one of few to grow its viewership compared to the same time last year, while the majority of other CNN programs were down across the board.

“The Cuomo-led program is the only cable news program to grow at 9pm, increasing 11 percent, while the others are down vs. a year ago,” CNN said. “This is the overall network’s third-highest May at 9 p.m. since 2008 in total viewers.”

CNN also reported it beat MSNBC in the 25-54 demo for the 63rd consecutive month. CNN also claimed it beat MSNBC on weekends in the key demo, and secured a top 10 ranking (eighth) in total day viewers across basic cable for the 17th consecutive month.

CNN disputed Nielsen’s data, claiming that it posted its “third-highest May in 11 years in weekday prime time in total viewers.”

Recommended