CNN, HLN Ratings Down Double-Digits Amid Company Layoffs

In the midst of widespread layoffs, TheWrap checks the Nielsen sheets for answers

CNN and HLN has seen a decline in ratings over the past year, which may have been used as a barometer by its parent company, Time Warner, in choosing where to make layoffs at the news organizations.

Thursday was a comparatively quiet day in terms of Turner pink slips, just 24-48 hours removed from widespread layoffs at CNN and HLN, among other entities counted under the Time Warner company’s umbrella.

That said, there was at least one big name cut today: CNN’s digital chief, KC Estenson.

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As leadership has maintained, the two cable channels will have to do more with less, and ratings-wise both have an uphill battle ahead of them. TheWrap examined the downward-trending Nielsen ratings for both CNN and HLN.

When comparing full calendar year-to-date data — from the end of December through present day for the past two years — CNN is down 10 percent across the total day measurement (6 a.m. to 6 a.m.) among total viewers, and minus 14 percent in the key 25-54 cable news demo.

HLN has dropped more dramatically in total day viewing across the studied time period: Total day, CNN’s sister network fell 21 percent in overall viewers and 15 percent in the demo.

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Primetime — which counts 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. — as it stands also doesn’t spell good news for the Turner channels. CNN is down 16 percent in total viewers and 12 percent in the key demo, while HLN has dropped 22 percent and 21 percent, respectively.

Or to simply summarize: CNN is delivering its worst rated year ever in both total day and primetime across total viewers and the demo.

Also read: CNN, HLN Layoffs Day 2: ‘Crossfire,’ ‘Unguarded’ With Rachel Nichols, and ‘Sanjay Gupta MD’ Canceled

On Wednesday, staffs for “Sanjay Gupta MD” and Rachel Nichols‘ “Unguarded” were counted among the casualties. On Tuesday, Jane Velez-Mitchell was let go and CNN’s entertainment reporting unit was disbanded.

The cuts, credited to Turner boss John Martin’s “2020” plan and expected to total 1,475 total employees — or 10 percent of the staff — started last Wednesday. They are expected to continue through next week.