CNN Ratings, 2015-2017 Rankings Deciphered — Has Trump Made An Impact?

Thea Conrad

Are CNN ratings down, up, or the same as before President Donald Trump made it his business to label them “fake news” at every chance? A Los Angeles Times report claims the network’s viewership hasn’t been negatively impacted, but rather than take their word for it, let’s take a look for ourselves by delving into the national organizations that provide the public with channel ratings.

CNN ratings are almost always in the top 10, but Fox News comes out on top more often than not, according to Adweek‘s TVNewser, which may be surprising to some people, since Fox is notoriously known for being Republican-friendly and Democrat-unfriendly.

TVNewser ranks channels by both the week and the day, and at the time of this writing, Wednesday, February 15, was the most recent day from which to see CNN ratings.

In what is called the “Scoreboard,” the site ranks the Fox News Channel (FNC), CNN, MSNBC and HLN for any given day and night. On Wednesday for example, FNC beat out the other networks for both day and primetime viewership. After FNC came CNN, then MSNBC followed by HLN.

The Scoreboard also provides the rough estimate of viewers per channel during the day and night, as well as the viewership from 4 p.m. EST to 10 p.m. EST, breaking up each network by the host of each hour. Bill O’Reilly, who hosts The O’Reilly Factor, beats out all other competition, and the anchors who share that slot with him, which are CNN’s Anderson Cooper, MSNBC’s Christopher Hayes, and HLN’s Ashleigh Banfield, individually don’t even reach half of O’Reilly’s viewership.

CNN ratings and Fox News Bill O'Reilly
Bill O’Reilly on his Fox News show “The O’Reilly Factor”. [Image by Richard Drew/AP Images]

CNN ratings for the week of February 6 put them at fourth place for days and ninth place for primetime. FNC is at No. 1 for both. TVNewser points out that last year during this exact week, CNN ratings ranked 31 points lower for daytime and four points higher for the evening.

When factoring in all basic cable channels (not just other news outlets) for the week of February 6, HGTV, AMC, and USA all beat out CNN during primetime hours. For daytime hours, HGTV and Nickelodeon had more viewers than CNN. Again, FNC beats out all other channels for both day and night.

To get a better idea of how CNN ratings have fluctuated ever since Donald Trump made it his business to exploit the network, sources indicate that after Trump won the election, Fox News saw a huge gain in viewership, skyrocketing over CNN and MSNBC.

According to a November 11, 2016 report by Mediaite, while CNN ratings during Election Night on November 8 ranked at No. 1, almost as soon as Trump achieved victory, CNN ratings tanked and they took MSNBC ratings down with them. Two days after Trump’s win, on November 10, 2016, both CNN and MSNBC together couldn’t beat the amount of FNC viewers.

“For primetime, Fox brought in an average of 4.78 million viewers, compared to 1.64 million for CNN and 1.44 million for MSNBC.”

FNC also received more than double the viewership of the other two networks combined during the daytime hours as well.

So perhaps the real story is, despite what Trump says, Fox News ratings have skyrocketed and CNN ratings have largely remained the same.

In support of this theory, on December 6, 2016, The Hill published an article titled “Fox News tripling CNN, MSNBC in viewers since Election Day.” This was a month after the Mediaite article, and FNC was tripling the other channels’ viewership which obviously suggests that for one reason or another, it looks as if Donald Trump being elected president caused Americans to flock to Fox News Channel, which, by contrast alone, makes it look like MSNBC and CNN ratings aren’t doing too well.

There is, however, something to be said for CNN ratings since Trump beat Hillary Clinton on election night. According to Yahoo News, during the period of November 9, 2016, to January 10, 2017, average viewership for the three top news channels puts CNN in second place, but when juxtaposed with the same time period a year ago, viewership of CNN grew only 1 percent, while FNC and MSNBC had an approximate 30 percent increase in this regard.

In addition to this, CNN ratings during the primetime hours have gone down by 18 percent since last year, while Fox and MSNBC gained 31 and 41 percent, respectively.

CNN has also done poorly with 25- to 54-year-olds since last year, seeing a slight decrease in their viewership. Meanwhile, CNN’s two main competitors have added viewers from this age group, Fox going up by 37 percent and MSNBC going up by 19 percent.

As far as CNN ratings are concerned, they’re losing some viewers, but this loss is not as significant as Fox News’ gain since the end of the 2016 election. Both of these things play a part in the channel’s struggle. It looks like right now the fight is between CNN and MSNBC for the second spot, while FNC stays at No. 1 for the time being.

[Featured Image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images]