The 24/7 pay-TV news network CNN has lost over half of its viewers in the last year, and now trails both Fox News and MSNBC in the cable news network ratings.
Ratings reporting website Deadspin reports that CNN’s viewership is at the bottom of the cable news ratings race. Meanwhile, Fox News’s Sean Hannity remains the top contender when it comes to cable news, a position Hannity has retained since his program was moved back to its 9 p.m. EST time slot.
While all three networks had diminished viewership in the year following the most contentious and exciting presidential race in living memory, CNN weathered the last year the worst of the three.
MSNBC only suffered a 6 per cent viewership loss, down to 1.58 million nightly viewers, while Fox News suffered a 26 per cent loss, bringing it down to 2.26 million nightly viewers.
CNN suffered the worst, losing 52 per cent of its nightly viewers. The network is now only viewed by only 919,000 news-demographic viewers per night. Even worse, CNN’s viewership among key age groups within this demographic decreased by 54 per cent.
This change means Fox News now has more young people from the key age demographic of news viewers, 477,000, than CNN, 325,000.
While Fox News has long held the distinction as the most watched cable news network, it typically has not enjoyed such a distant lead from its competitors. Prior to the 2016 election cycle, MSNBC was considered an unpopular, left-leaning network, and both Fox News and CNN typically dwarfed its nightly viewership numbers.
After CNN was berated throughout the 2016 campaign, and was then lambasted by President Trump as “Very Fake News,” MSNBC found itself picking up more viewers than it has enjoyed in previous years.
Possibly the most important takeaway is the star power of Hannity. Before Hannity was moved back to his previous 9 p.m. time slot, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow was quickly becoming a major competitor for Fox News during the 9 p.m. hour. However, only a month after Hannity returned, Hannity increased his viewers by 15 per cent compared to the same period in 2016.