CNN ranked #1 in cable news in prime time in April. CNN beat Fox News for the fifth time in the last eight months in M-Su prime time (four of the past eight in M-F prime) among adults 25-54. The last time CNN had this many prime time wins in an eight-month period versus Fox News was over 14 years ago (Nov. 2001). CNN also handily topped MSNBC this month in all dayparts, with CNN besting MSNBC for the 22nd straight month in Total Day (among both total viewers and among adults 25-54) and in prime time (among 25-54). In total viewers, CNN has now beaten MSNBC for the fifth straight month (or seven out of eight months) in prime time. CNN continued to top MSNBC by wide margins during the day (9am-4pm) – posting a +36% advantage in total viewers (630k vs. MSNBC’s 464k) and +58% more among adults 25-54 (161k vs. 102k).
Why the switch? Fox News grew in popularity because it was the only network where right-leaning voices were heard, or even allowed in the first place (watch Neil Cavuto Schools Young Liberal on Basic Economics). A fact not lost on new CNN honcho Jeffrey Zucker…
“I think it was a legitimate criticism of CNN that it was a little too liberal. We have added many more middle-of-the-road conservative voices to an already strong stable of liberal voices. And I think that we are a much more-balanced network and, as a result, a much more inviting network to a segment of the audience that might not have otherwise been willing to come here.”
A Fox News rep zipped this statement today: “It only took them 35 years to realize there’s actually another point of view in this country.”
You know what we have here? Capitalism at work. Someone at CNN said, “Hey, you know what? Let’s get some of those Fox viewers. Some of them are a little miffed at Fox,” (more on that below). So Zucker was all “Yeah, okay. I guess that means we have to acknowledge not everyone in America is a bug-eyed, hipster lesbian with obesity issues.”
Though you can see why the assumption was made.
There’s another reason CNN is stomping all over Fox News. Some people believe this new rise in CNN popularity is due to their anti-Trump bias, but it’s not that simple. Also, I’m not sure any network is “anti-Trump” right now. CNN is just not so over the top PRO-Trump that other networks *cough* Fox News *cough* are.
More notable, is that Trump has harmed all Conservative news outlets across the board. Using FoxNews as an example, they’ve seen an exodus of anti-Trump voters because they perceive FoxNews as too pro-Trump, while Trump-supporters have also left because they see things the exact opposite way. They believe that FoxNews is anti-Trump. So whether you’re a pro-Trump Conservative, or an anti-Trump Conservative, there’s a viewership exodus either way. Regardless of where you line up, that has been the definitive Trump effect on media.
The big picture? The network demographic shifts are a reflection of how fractured the GOP (establishment, conservatives, tea party, et al) is.
Plot twist: CNN is now there to fill the void unhappy Fox viewers needed. Pro-Trump supporters still have Fox News. And MSNBC still sucks.