May ratings are in and Fox News beat its cable news competition in total-day viewership and primetime viewership in both total average viewers and viewers in the key demo, according to Nielsen Media Research data. CNN lost half of its key demo viewership year over year, but maintained its year-to-date lead in the demo.
Overall, Fox News brought in an average of 1.187 million total viewers for the month, with 203,000 of them in the advertiser-coveted age demographic of 25 to 54. CNN had an average of only 610,000 total viewers, but took second place in the key demo with 147,000. MSNBC held down second place in total average viewers with 835,000, but came in last in the demo, averaging 108,000.
Because of its high ratings at the beginning of the year, though, CNN still closed out May as the top-rated cable network in the key demo year-to-date. In total-day ratings since the beginning of the year, CNN has now averaged 279,000 viewers between the ages of 25 and 54, outpacing second-place cable finisher ESPN, which brought in an average of 261,000 and was followed by TNT with an average of 224,000. Fox News is in fourth place in total-day demo viewership for 2021 with 219,000. MSNBC is in tenth place for the year, averaging 180,000 viewers in the age range.
Fox News led the way in primetime for May, as well. In total, the network took in 2.166 million total viewers on average from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET. Of those, 345,000 were in the key demo. CNN was again in last place for total average viewers, bringing in 913,000 total average primetime viewers compared to MSNBC’s 1.494 million. CNN took second in the demo for primetime in May, however, averaging 218,000 where MSNBC nabbed 199,000.
May marked the 18th straight month that CNN topped MSNBC in total-day demo ratings and the eighth straight month the network beat MSNBC in primetime demo ratings.