MSNBC’s growth has exploded since 2015 as they increased viewership by 160%, which is more than Fox News and CNN combined.
According to an end of the year ratings statement by MSNBC provided to PoliticusUSA:
Since 2015, MSNBC increased viewership, growing more than CNN and FOX News combined. Total day (M-Su 6am-6am) increased viewership by +160% (vs. CNN’s +60% and FOX News’ +24%),adding nearly 600,000 viewers per minute – the most for any network – propelling MSNBC from #28 in 2015 to #2 across all of cable today. In 2021, total day delivered 926K total viewers (vs. CNN’s 790K), finishing #2 in all of cable (ahead of #3 CNN #4 ESPN and #5 HGTV). In A25-54, total day was up +42% since 2015, growing more than CNN (+26%) and FOX News (+9%) combined. Total day delivered 129K A25-54 viewers in 2021.
Prime (M-F 8pm-11pm) ranked #2 among all cable networks for the 4th straight year (ahead of #3 ESPN, #4 CNN and #5 HGTV). MSNBC’s perspective and analysis programming nearly doubled CNN’s total audience, delivering 2M total viewers (vs. CNN’s 1.2M) and dominating CNN for the 5th year in a row. Since 2015, MSNBC added 1.3M viewers during prime (+189%) more than CNN (+53%) and FOX News (+26%) combined. Among A25-54 viewers, prime grew +100% over 2015 (vs. CNN’s +18% and FOX News’ +7%).
MSNBC Is The Only Network That Can Challenge Fox News
MSNBC is now the only network on cable television that can challenge Fox News for number one.
The growth at the network was fueled by The Rachel Maddow show in primetime, and a shakeup of daytime that features a stronger lineup of hosts and a beefed-up commitment to news coverage. When MSNBC struggled, many of their shows looked alike, and they tended to pound the same stories into the ground hour after hour.
At a time of cord-cutting and changing viewership habits, MSNBC’s growth is impressive. Fox News still struggles with slow growth and the oldest audience on cable TV. Much like how demographic change will eventually overtake the GOP, it may only be a matter of time until MSNBC overtakes Fox News permanently.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association