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Data: CNN Surged During Weekend of Protests Against Racial Injustice

During this past weekend of racial injustice protests around the United States, audiences were glued to TVs — and especially news — to follow the rapidly evolving situation.

According to Inscape, the TV data company with glass-level insights from a panel of more than 14 million smart TVs, CNN was the No. 5 network for percent network reach, reaching 19.51% of active TVs, and edging out Fox News, which reached 19.04% of TVs that Inscape measured. MSNBC came in eighth place, reaching 9.96% of TVs. 

By comparison (*using live, linear data only)

  • During the weekend of May 22-24, CNN was in 10th place, reaching 11.35% of TVs, Fox News was in fifth place (13.91%) and MSNBC was No. 20 (7.19%). 
  • From May 15-17, CNN was in ninth place, reaching 11.97% of TVs, Fox News was in fifth place (14.65%) and MSNBC was No. 21 (7.44%) 

But of all the minutes watched by TVs that Inscape measured this past weekend, 8.62% of the time was spent on Fox News, making it No. 1. CNN was behind it with 7% and MSNBC was seventh, capturing 2.97% of watch time.

Looking at minutes watched during past weekends, by comparison: 

  • From May 22-24, CNN was in seventh place for minutes watched (2.76% share duration), Fox News was in third place (5.09%) and MSNBC was in 10th (1.91%).
  • During the weekend of May 15-17, CNN was in seventh place (2.88%), Fox News was in third (5.35%) and MSNBC was No. 12 (1.89%)

Looking at specific shows last weekend, of all the minutes watched, 1.03% of the time was spent with CNN Newsroom, putting it in third place, followed by America’s News Headquarters (0.92%) and MSNBC Live (0.90%)

With audiences tuning into more news lately, ad impressions have also increased accordingly. This past weekend, impressions were up for both CNN and Fox News (and down slightly as part of a larger falling trend for MSNBC, according to iSpot.tv.

For CNN, impressions nearly doubled from Thursday, May 28 to Saturday, May 30 — jumping from 509.8 million to 986.1 million. In the days following, impressions also remained higher than at any point in the last month.

While Fox News did not see the same uptick over the weekend, impressions have climbed in the days afterward (would note that Fox’s programming and viewers are a bit more concerned with the perceived “aftermath” than the protests and the reasons for them, which likely explains at least part of the difference). From May 28 to June 2, ad impressions increased by about 34% on Fox News. MSNBC’s increased as well, though it appeared more in line with weekly ebbs and flows where impressions were higher by mid-week and then declined during the weekend.

Over the last 14 days, here were the top brand advertisers across all three networks (by impressions):

  1. Tractor Supply Co. (551.6 million)
  2. Liberty Mutual (517.3 million)
  3. MyPillow (370.1 million)
  4. Progressive (344.5 million)
  5. Nutrisystem (330.4 million)
  6. Tempur-Pedic (329.0 million)
  7. Carvana (292.8 million)
  8. USAA (269.9 million)
  9. NewDay USA (253.0 million)
  10. ADT (251.1 million)

Here’s what this past Friday to Sunday — May 29-31 — looked like across all three networks, in comparison (also by impressions):

  1. Tempur-Pedic (94.4 million)
  2. Liberty Mutual (89.4 million)
  3. Progressive (87.1 million)
  4. Allstate (86.3 million)
  5. Tractor Supply Co. (84.3 million)
  6. ADT (67.7 million)
  7. MyPillow (66.8 million)
  8. USAA (53.4 million)
  9. Edible Arrangements (52.8 million)
  10. Vanda Pharmaceuticals (52.2 million)