This is not exactly breaking news, but CNN thrives during times of breaking news. Last week was no exception as the Turner cable news network saw the largest ratings increases following Thursday’s crash of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 and Israel’s ground offensive in the Gaza Strip.
Despite the bigger percentage increases for its chief competitor, Fox News stayed on top — though the two came dangerously close in certain metrics.
All below data measures the prior Thursday-Sunday to the previous four Thursday-Sunday time periods between June 19-July 13.
In total day total viewers, Fox News scored 1.11 million, an increase of 32 percent. CNN rose 88 percent to 620,000 viewers; MSNBC’s 337,000 viewers represent a 13 percent uptick from the comparable time period.
Across total day in the key 25-54 cable news demo, Fox News bested CNN 234,000 to 208,000 viewers, though CNN’s 104 percent increase dwarfs FNC’s 38 percent. MSNBC nearly stayed stagnant, with 109,000 viewers getting a mere 7 percent increase.
In primetime, Fox’s total viewers of 1.78 million viewers was a 34 percent increase over the past four weeks. CNN rose 64 percent to 796,000 total viewers, while MSNBC’s 507,000 was up 18 percent from the previous four weeks.
In the demo, Fox’s primetime viewership jumped 50 percent to 322,000 viewers, while CNN flew 93 percent to 278,000 viewers. MSNBC only saw a few more eyeballs than usual, with 152,000 viewers representing a four percent uptick.
On Thursday, Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 en route from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur dropped off the radar near the Russian border in Eastern Ukraine. The plane crashed, killing 298 people on board. Authorities are still sorting out what exactly happened, though the plane was presumed shot down.
Coverage of that specific tragedy has dominated cable news, though each network has also tracked other breaking stories, including the ongoing Gaza Strip conflict.
CNN — which always benefits during breaking news periods — ran 93 hours of live programming throughout the measured time period, Thursday-Sunday, July 17-July 20.