Cable news network ratings soared in February, thanks largely to viewer interest in the 2016 presidential race.
CNN led the way in the all-important 25-54 demo, beating perennial leader Fox News thanks to a series of candidate town halls and debates, though Fox still had the most total viewers.
Fox was the most watched cable TV channel in both total day and primetime for the first time since 2003.
Even though CNN finished second in total viewers, overall viewership was up sharply from last year, placing more distance between it and third place MSNBC.
MSNBC continues to struggle in the ratings, but it is doing significantly better as it shifts from being a straight left-wing network to a more news oriented channel, and has benefited from its virtual wall-to-wall coverage of GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s speeches and rallies.
Viewer interest spilled over into March with the Super Tuesday election results, with an average of 11 million people watching the returns. That is far more than in 2008, the last time both parties had an open candidacy.
The interest in the campaign has been largely due to Trump’s candidacy, and as it continues to roll along the cable networks will gladly ride the ratings gravy-train all the way to the bank.
See the ratings numbers below:
Fox News: 1.34M total viewers, 263,000 adults 25-54
CNN: 734,000 total viewers, 211,000 adults 25-54
MSNBC: 526,000 total viewers, 134,000 adults 25-54
Fox News: 2.22M total viewers, 427,000 adults 25-54
CNN: 1.61M total viewers, 500,000 adults 25-54
MSNBC: 968,000 total viewers, 244,000 adults 25-54