CNN, which had been making some strides at unseating MSNBC as the number two cable news network, took a giant step backward in April with its lowest rated daytime ratings in the A25-54 demo in over a decade. In addition, compared to last year, the network is down 21% in total viewers and 29% in the A25-54 demo, while Fox News was up and MSNBC was down slightly in the demo.
The news was almost as bad in primetime, with CNN suffering its lowest rated month since August 2010 in total viewers and the demo. That made it CNN”s sixth worst primetime ratings ever in total viewers, as it shed 16% in that category and 22% in the A25-54 demo compared to last year. Fox News was flat in total viewers and MSNBC was down slightly, while both lost 9% in the demo, underscoring the steep decline of CNN.
On top of that, every single hour of CNN primetime was down by double digits compared to last year except for AC360 at 8 p.m., which was down “just” 8%.
CNN, which benefited in 2011 from major news events like the tsunami in Japan and the Arab Spring, has suffered from a lack of those types of events this year, but the steep drop-off can’t be explained away solely by the dearth of major news events.
Until now, CNN executive vice president Ken Jautz thought he had been making progress in reviving the network, even beating MSNBC in the ratings a couple of times. But the latest report has CNN largely back to where it was when Jautz was hired in September 2010.
Even though this s a presidential election year, CNN isn’t likely to benefit very much as its “muddled middle” strategy leaves it without a clear identity, as compared to Fox News and MSNBC.
If Jautz wants to keep his job he’d better make some changes pronto, before CNN loses even more viewers and falls to fourth place.