Millennials might not watch as much cable news as their parents, but when they do, the majority of adults age 18-34 prefer CNN over rivals Fox News and MSNBC.
Among that group, CNN has dominated the election cycle, averaging 50,000 millennial-aged viewers compared to 39,000 for Fox News and 28,000 for MSNBC from July 2015 through Oct. 4, 2016. CNN’s millennial audience grew 52 percent over that time period, with Fox News’ growth at 22 percent and MSNBC’s at 17 percent.
Only 64 percent of millennials actually pay for cable, while 26 percent have never had pay TV, according to a USA Today study from last December. It should be noted that USA Today considered millennials adults age 18-29 as opposed to 18-34, but the bottom line is that young people watch less TV than their parents.
It appears the youngsters who actually spring for cable flock to CNN. During primetime, the network averaged 109,000 millennial-aged viewers, outpacing Fox News’ 89,000 and more than doubling MSNBC’s 49,000. CNN grew 106 percent among millennials during primetime, while Fox News and MSNBC’s growth was at less than 50 percent.
CNN and its cable news rivals have additional competition to deal with nowadays. Voters can receive information on their phones, and various streaming services provide extensive election coverage. The Young Turks’ YouTube page has over three million subscribers, while CNN’s YouTube page has 1.6 million.
The Pew Research Center recently noted that baby boomers and previous generations dominated every presidential election since 1980, but Generation X eligible voters and millennials will be more important than ever when it comes to deciding the next president and could “mark the beginning of a new era for U.S. presidential elections.”
Pew also noted that Millennials’ views of national news media have grown more negative, with only 27 percent of the youngest demographic of voters claiming the news has a positive impact — but at least they’re watching.
Millennials aren’t the only people watching CNN. The network finished the week of Oct. 10-16 as the third most-watched network in all of cable, behind only Fox News and Nickelodeon.