1. Fox News hit 1.5 million viewers on average from January 31 to February 6, 2022.
February started well for Fox News. The network was the only one to break the one-million threshold during the first week of February, achieving an astonishing 1.5 million viewers on average. This puts it well above CNN, which only had over 400,000 viewers on average.
These statistics perfectly reflect 2022’s bigger picture for Fox News.
Due to its fantastic start of the year, we can expect the network to remain the leading cable news station in the country. Fox News dwarfed the CNN and MSNBC ratings in 2021 and the beginning of 2022, both during prime time and all-day slots.
Furthermore, among the much desired demographic, which consists of adults aged 25 to 54, Fox News is yet to be seriously challenged by any cable TV channel. This is especially true for the network’s famous program Tucker Carlson Tonight. Although The Five — another one of Fox News’s top successes — managed to achieve slightly higher general ratings, the Tucker Carlson TV ratings indicate that the show dominates the 25–54 age group.
2. CNN reached 467,000 viewers from January 31 to February 6, 2022.
Compared to its competitors, CNN is not in good shape. A lot of factors come into play — the main one being the viewership’s tendency to dramatically rise in election years, then decline rapidly during off-years, such as 2022.
Like most of the top news channels in the USA, CNN thrives off periods of extreme tension. Although eventful, the first weeks of 2022 were not enough to bring substantial viewership — neither during prime time nor all-day slots.
CNN recorded a year-to-year decline that’s greater than 80% from the first week of February in 2021 to 2022. As you’ll see in this article, over the span of its 42-year operation, 2021 was the second-best year for CNN.
3. By February 2022, Fox News had had more viewers than CNN and MSNBC combined for 25 weeks straight.
During the last six months, Fox News has been the most watched news channel in the USA, maintaining record-breaking results for the last four months of 2021 and the first two of 2022.
CNN and MSNBC, Fox News’s two biggest competitors, can’t surpass the TV news giant’s viewership, even with their ratings combined. This is in stark contrast with the Fox News vs. CNN viewership figures in 2019 and 2020. During the COVID-19 pandemic, CNN managed to increase its viewership by 83% from 2019.
4. In 2021, CNN suffered a 40% prime-time viewership loss compared to 2020.
2021 ended with CNN being the fifth cable network for prime-time viewers. While this is still an impressive achievement, if we compare these results with 2020’s final statistics, we can notice a major downfall — a 40% decline in overall prime-time CNN ratings.
What happened could not be narrowed down to just a single factor. The most significant one is 2021 being an “off” year, with no elections to cover. CNN’s ratings have always been subjected to heavy fluctuations in these situations.
That being said, we can’t call this a true disaster. We’re still comparing CNN’s two most successful years ever. We can hardly expect it to surpass its most prominent competitor, Fox News, but experts are inclined to believe 2022 will be a somewhat successful year for CNN.
5. Fox News has been the most-watched cable news station for 20 consecutive years.
According to Fox News viewership statistics, the network has been the leading cable news network for a whopping 20 years in a row. This streak started in January 2002, just six years after FNC was established. Since then, no other channel has managed to usurp the title of king of the hill just yet.
Looking at current stats for 2022, we can expect Fox News to keep dominating. Since February 6, 2022, MSNBC and CNN’s ratings combined haven’t surpassed Fox News’s, which is pretty common in the Fox News viewership vs. CNN scenario.
6. In 2021, Fox News had 1.3 million daily viewers on average vs. CNN’s 787,000.
Fox News finished off 2021 as the top cable news network, with a daily average of 1.3 million day viewers. The conservative giant managed to pick itself up after being dominated earlier in the year by both CNN and MSNBC.
More specifically, according to Nielsen’s statistics, Fox News reached a total of 1.3 million day viewers from Monday through Sunday. The Tucker Carlson ratings came out on top, with a huge audience of 3.1 million, overtaking Sean Hannity and ending its four-year-long dominance.
On the other hand, CNN had around 777,300 24-hour viewers, 185,000 of them falling into the advertisement-coveted demographic of adults aged 25–54. These results comfortably won the network the title of “third most-viewed network in all dayparts.”
7. In 2021, CNN lost 48% of prime-time viewers aged 25–54.
First of all, why is this “adults aged 25–54” demographic (sometimes referred to as “the demo”) so important when it comes to cable news ratings? Advertisement, that’s why.
Advertisers desperately want to reach financially independent people between the ages of 25 and 54. This demographic is the driving force behind every economy, developed or not.
It’s disappointing for CNN to lose nearly half of its viewers in this age group in 2021. However, this drop was expected. Due to the younger generation’s tendency to follow the news primarily during elections, a drop in CNN ratings during non-election years is not unusual.