CNN Ends 2014 With All-time Low Ratings, MSNBC Falls to Third Place Among News Channels

December 30th, 2014 6:18 PM

Just when it seemed that things couldn't get any worse for the liberal Cable News Network and MSNBC channels, the Deadline website released a year-end review by reporter Lisa de Morales on ratings for CNN in prime time, which hit an all-time low of 516,000, and viewers in the vital 25- to 54-year-old demographic fell dramatically to 126,000, the second lowest number ever.

Meanwhile, the “Lean Forward” network lost 17 percent of its prime-time demographic audience to end 2014 with a viewership of 169,000 in the demographic and a total audience of 590,000. While these numbers outpaced CNN's ratings in this category, MSNBC fell far below its competitor in several other statistics.

Regarding the total day numbers, CNN had 399,000 viewers, 126,000 of whom were from the vital demographic. While not far behind, MSNBC still fell to third place with a total of 347,000 people and 108,000 from age 25 to 54.

In an apparent attempt to distract from CNN's poor numbers, president Jeff Zucker released a lengthy memo on December 22, which claimed that “this has been a terrific year for the entire CNN worldwide organization, though certainly not without its challenges.”

Zucker also noted that his network is “ending 2014 in our best shape in many years journalistically, competitively. financially.”

He continued:

As always, it is our journalism that has defined the year.

Our coverage in Ferguson, Ukraine, Kobani, North Korea, Mt. Sinjar in Iraq, Caracas, Liberia where we were first on the Ebola crisis, Nigeria for the story of the missing school girls before anyone else, and in so many other places, again showed that CNN’s worldwide newsgathering resources and people are unmatched.

Zucker then discussed the sister HLN network, which was previously known as the Headline News channel and attracted a total viewership of 257,000, with 105,000 in the important demographic this year.

HLN beat MSNBC for the last six straight months in total day demos, its longest such streak in more than nine years,” he stated.

“I want to say congratulations and thank you to each of you, across the company and around the globe, for making this all happen,” Zucker concluded.

As NewsBusters previously reported, MSNBC president Phil Griffin later distributed a memo of his own, in which he blamed technological change and not rejection of the channel's liberal agenda at the polls.

Meanwhile, in an article written for the Los Angeles Times, reporter Stephen Battaglio stated that “CNN has made a tactical decision to supplement its news coverage with original series programming aimed at drawing younger viewers who are more appealing to advertisers.”

“The episode premieres of CNN series with Anthony Bourdain, Lisa Ling and John Walsh were time-period winners,” he added. “CNN's new approach helped it surpass MSNBC for second place among the 25-to-54 demo in prime time.”

Meanwhile, Battaglio also had good news to report:

The bright spot was for Fox News Channel, No. 1 in cable news for the 13th consecutive year. Fox grew its audience by 2 percent among 25- to 54-year-olds in prime time thanks to Megyn Kelly, who took over the channel's 9 p.m. slot in October 2013.

Her show, The Kelly File, improved the time period by 10 percent and ended three straight years of prime-time declines in the demographic.

The Times reporter agreed, pointing out that “FNC towered over other cable news channels” in prime time. “As 2014 draws to a close, FNC celebrates its 13th consecutive year as the most-watched cable news network, though it too had its disappointments.”

“In total day, FNC is down 4 percent in total viewers (1.05 million) and the same percentage in news demo viewers, though it finished laps ahead of its competition in both metrics,” she stated.

“FNC rings out the year ranked No. 4 among ad-supported basic cable networks in overall prime-time audience, behind only ESPN, USA Network and TNT; it also ranks No. 4 in total” viewers while “CNN and MSNBC are way back in the 20s and 30s,” de Morales noted.

Here are the numbers of total day viewers in 2014 followed by those who are in the 25-to-54 demographic. Fox News: 1,052,000 – 214,000; CNN: 399,000 – 126,000; MSNBC: 347,000 – 108,000; and HLN: 257,000 – 105,000.

In addition, these statistics show the ratings for prime-time viewers and those in the 25-to-54 category. Fox News: 1,756,000 – 301,000; CNN: 516,000 – 181,000; MSNBC: 590,000 – 169,000; and HLN: 334,000 – 117,000.

Perhaps MSNBC will finally follow CNN's lead and make changes in its schedule instead of airing the same liberal programs with the same liberal hosts and the same liberal guests. It certainly couldn't hurt.