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Viewership Insights for Cable News Networks

Earlier this week, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden announced his running mate for the 2020 election: California Senator Kamala Harris. As the clock counts down to November 3, one thing is certain: politics, and thus the news coverage, is going to heat up big time.

With that in mind, we’ve put together viewership profiles for three of the top cable news networks, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News, using data from Inscape.tv, the TV data company with insights from a panel of more than 15 million smart TVs. Also below: A look at viewership crossover for these news networks plus ESPN and TNT.

CNN

Of all the active smart TVs that Inscape measured July 8 through August 12, CNN reached 20.41%, making it No. 22 for percent network reach. Of all the minutes watched by active smart TVs in this time period, 3.32% of the time was spent on CNN, making it No. 6 for time-spent network share. 

Hotspots of local area market tune-in for CNN include Palm Springs, West Palm Beach-Ft. Pierce, Washington, DC (Hagrstwn), Myrtle Beach-Florence and New York. (On the heatmap below, the darker the color, the more households were tuning in.)

CNN local area market tune-in, via Inscape.tv

Other networks watched by CNN viewers include MSNBC, CNBC, HLN, The Weather Channel and Turner Classic Movies.

Via Inscape.tv

Non-news shows that CNN viewers are likely to watch include Greenleaf, Skip and Shannon: Undisputed, American Soul, Married to Medicine Los Angeles and First Take

Via Inscape.tv

MSNBC

Of all the active smart TVs that Inscape measured July 8 through August 12, MSNBC reached 13.51%, making it No. 38 for percent network reach. Of all the minutes watched by active smart TVs in this time period, 2.72% of the time was spent on MSNBC, making it No. 8 for time-spent network share. 

Hotspots of local area market tune-in for MSNBC include Palm Springs, Alpena, Eureka, Salisbury and Albany-Schenectady-Troy. (On the heatmap below, the darker the color, the more households were tuning in.)

MSNBC local area market tune-in, via Inscape.tv

Other networks watched by MSNBC viewers include CNN, CNBC, Turner Classic Movies, HLN and Oprah Winfrey Network.

Via Inscape.tv

Non-news shows that MSNBC viewers are likely to watch include Jay Leno’s Garage, Undercover Boss, Saturday Night Live, Greenleaf and Perry Mason.

Via Inscape.tv

Fox News 

Of all the active smart TVs that Inscape measured July 8 through August 12, Fox News reached 23.16%, making it No. 14 for percent network reach. Of all the minutes watched by active smart TVs in this time period, 6.10% of the time was spent on Fox News, making it No. 1 for time-spent network share. 

Hotspots of local area market tune-in for Fox News include Panama City, Alpena, Myrtle Beach-Florence, Glendive and Ft. Myers-Naples. (On the heatmap below, the darker the color, the more households were tuning in.)

Fox News local area market tune-in, via Inscape.tv

Other networks watched by Fox News viewers include Fox Business, CNBC, The Weather Channel, RFD TV and Smithsonian Network. 

Via Inscape.tv

Non-news shows that Fox News viewers are likely to watch include Weekend Recharge, The Weather Channel LIVE, Weather Underground, AMHQ and Jay Leno’s Garage

Via Inscape.tv

Cable News vs. Sports

Now that the 2020 election cycle is heating up and live sports have finally returned, there may be some competition for viewership. For some perspective, in the last 35 days, TNT reached 30.65% of active TVs that Inscape measured, while ESPN has reached 27.40%, putting them in fifth and sixth places, respectively, for network reach — behind the big four broadcasters but ahead of any cable news networks. That being said, looking at time spent watching, all three cable news networks were ahead of ESPN (2.15%) and TNT (1.85%) for percent share duration. 

Here’s a look at recent network crossover for the three news networks, plus ESPN and TNT. The highest rate of crossover: 64% of MSNBC viewers have also watched at least ten minutes of CNN since June, and 54% of ESPN viewers have watched TNT. At the low end: Only 15% of TNT viewers have watched MSNBC, and 16% of ESPN viewers have watched MSNBC. 

Via Inscape.tv