According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, FNC averaged 2.4 million total viewers in prime time during 2018, +26 percent more than the next closest finisher, ESPN, and 1.4 million total day viewers in 2018, +43 percent more than second place finisher MSNBC. In fact, Fox News was the sole basic cable network to average more than a million viewers across the 24-hour day.
When compared to 2017, Fox News was +1 percent in total prime time viewers.
The majority of the other top cable entertainment networks posted year-over year declines in 2018. This is likely due to the increase in cord cutting, a trend TV news and other networks which broadcast live programming have seemingly proved immune to.
MSNBC, as noted in previous reports this week, posted the most significant year-over-year audience growth of any top 25 basic cable network (+10 percent in prime time / +12 percent in total day).
ESPN had a pretty strong 2018 as well, only -1 percent from 2017. In this day and age, call that a win.
2018 BASIC CABLE TOP 10
Prime Time (Total Viewers) / YoY % Change
Fox News Channel (2,434,000) / +1 percent
ESPN (1,929,000) / -1 percent
MSNBC (1,802,000) / +10 percent
HGTV (1,314,000) / -6 percent
USA (1,291,000) / -9 percent
TBS (1,262,000) / –10 percent
TNT (1,171,000) / FLAT
Hallmark (1,105,000) / +1 percent
History (1,038,000) / -8 percent
Investigation Discovery (1,007,000) / FLAT
Total Day (Total Viewers) / YoY % Change
Fox News (1,424,000) / -5 percent
MSNBC (994,000) / +12 percent
Nickelodeon (870,000) / -22 percent
ESPN (760,000) / -2 percent
HGTV (736,000) / -8 percent
Investigation Discovery (719,000) / -3 percent
CNN (706,000) / -9 percent
Hallmark (656,000) / +4 percent
USA (617,000) / -12 percent
TNT (591,000) / -7 percent
The Total Day top 10 looks relatively similar to prime time. Fox News at No. 1 despite losing viewers from 2017, and MSNBC posting double digit growth in total viewers for the second straight year.
Kids/daytime-focused Nickelodeon found its way to No. 3. However, the network continues to post year-over-year declines, as kids are increasingly watching their favorite shows on various other devices.
CNN earned a strong No. 7 ranking, while TBS, which thrives on acquisitions and live sports in prime time, is not in the Total Day top 10; neither is History.
Here’s a look at the rest of the Nielsen-rated basic cable networks for 2018:
WASHINGTON – |Reuters|AIWA! NO!| – U.S. President Donald Trump told the special counsel investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia that he was not aware ahead of time of a meeting in June 2016 between campaign officials and Russians, MSNBC reported on Wednesday, citing sources familiar with the matter.