While second-quarter ratings revealed Fox News’ continued dominance over the cable news landscape, one area in which rival MSNBC could claim a victory was in year-over-year growth in total day and weekday dayside viewership.
According to Nielsen, in Sunday – Sunday total day, Fox News experienced a four percent drop in total viewers (1.409 million) and nine percent in the key 25-54 demographic (286,000) compared to second quarter 2017. CNN was down 16 percent (658,000) in viewers overall and 23 percent (202,000) in the demo. Meanwhile, MSNBC noticed five percent growth in total viewership (930,000) but did see a five percent drop in the demo (196,000).
In the Monday – Friday dayside (9 AM – 5 PM) time slot, MSNBC was the only cable news network to see year-over-year growth in both the demo and total viewers. MSNBC averaged 921,000 total viewers in dayside for the quarter, which was up eight percent from second quarter 2017. Comparatively, CNN was down 20 percent (721,000) and Fox News 13 percent.
In the key demo, MSNBC’s 180,000 viewers was up eight percent from the previous year. CNN experienced a 27 percent drop (194,000) and Fox News was down 16 percent. MSNBC also closed the gap with CNN in dayside demo to its closest level in five years.
MSNBC’s flagship morning program, Morning Joe, also experienced total viewership growth (up seven percent) while CNN (down 13 percent) and Fox News (down four percent) experienced declines.
One area in which Fox News could point to growth that MSNBC couldn’t was primetime (Sunday – Sunday) 8 PM to 11 PM demo viewership. While MSNBC saw greater growth (six percent) than Fox News did (four percent) in total viewership, MSNBC saw a double-digit decline (11 percent) in the demo, compared to Fox’s slight upswing (two percent).