Accuracy in Media

CNN was almost giddy this past week as they bragged on their website about their nearly 30% gain in viewers in the key A25-54 demographic compared to 2010, but they largely ignored the fact that they finished in third place in the demo behind MSNBC for the third consecutive year.

Fueled by program line-up changes throughout CNN’s schedule and the successful leveraging of breaking news stories – CNN had significant double-digit ratings growth across all dayparts in 2011 – while FNC lost viewers and MSNBC had very modest gains. CNN grew an impressive +30% in M-F primetime in 2011 and topped MSNBC in total day this year.

The former cable news champ did see the strongest growth in audience numbers, when compared to Fox News and MSNBC, but they managed to omit the fact that 2010 was their worst year ratings wise in the last 15 years and thus were working off a relatively low base.

Even with the surge, CNN’s ratings in the demo are still about 8% below 2009 figures, showing that any real ratings boast is premature at best.

The wild card in 2012 will be the election coverage, which favored CNN in 2008. But a lot has changed in the last four years, so the network may not be able to count on an election year boost to change their fortunes in 2012.

Ratings numbers courtesy of TV by the Numbers

 

PRIMETIME 25-54

08:00P -11:00P MTWTFSS

P 25-54

Network Period Dates

(000s)

CNN 2008 12/31/07-12/28/08

453

CNN 2003 12/30/02-12/28/03

373

CNN 2001 01/01/01-12/30/01

353

CNN 2005 12/27/04-12/25/05

271

CNN 2009 12/29/08-12/27/09

263

CNN 2002 12/31/01-12/29/02

261

CNN 1998 12/29/97-12/27/98

257

CNN 2004 12/29/03-12/26/04

251

CNN 2007 01/01/07-12/30/07

243

CNN 2000 12/27/99-12/31/00

242

CNN 1999 12/28/98-12/26/99

231

CNN 1997 03/31/97-12/28/97

229

CNN 2006 12/26/05-12/31/06

225

CNN 2011 12/27/10-12/25/11

222

CNN 2010 12/28/09-12/26/10

172

PRIMETIME P2+

08:00P -11:00P MTWTFSS

P 2+

Network Period Dates

(000s)

CNN 2008 12/31/07-12/28/08

1292

CNN 2003 12/30/02-12/28/03

1095

CNN 2001 01/01/01-12/30/01

1009

CNN 1998 12/29/97-12/27/98

957

CNN 2009 12/29/08-12/27/09

901

CNN 2002 12/31/01-12/29/02

898

CNN 2004 12/29/03-12/26/04

855

CNN 2005 12/27/04-12/25/05

853

CNN 1997 03/31/97-12/28/97

787

CNN 1999 12/28/98-12/26/99

781

CNN 2007 01/01/07-12/30/07

764

CNN 2000 12/27/99-12/31/00

753

CNN 2006 12/26/05-12/31/06

753

CNN 2011 12/27/10-12/25/11

689

CNN 2010 12/28/09-12/26/10

590




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