With a growing crisis on the southern border, an airline shoot down, civil war in eastern Ukraine and a fierce fight between the Israeli government and Hamas in Gaza, July was one intense month for news. And that was bad news for MSNBC.
The ultra-liberal cable news network touts itself as “The Place For Politics.” But when actual news breaks, the American public breaks away from MSNBC, with the channel’s daytime and primetime lineup both suffering some of its worst numbers in eight years.
According to Nielsen Media Research, MSNBC’s total day viewership was down 35 percent in the key 25-54 demographic from last year, the lowest it’s been since May 2006. Every single one of the major daytime shows — from “The Daily Rundown” at 9 a.m. through to “Andrea Mitchell Reports” at noon and “Politics Nation” with Al Sharpton at 6 p.m. — is down 40 percent or more in the target demographic.
Most of those time slots haven’t seen numbers that low since 2004, during the first term of the Bush administration. Amazingly, even HLN — a network so obscure that no one really know what its acronym even stands for — beat out MSNBC in total day numbers for the 25-54 age group.
Primetime was also rough on the liberal news network. At 143,000 viewers, MSNBC came in just under CNN’s 160,000 in the target demographic. That’s a 26 percent decline from last year and its lowest primetime ratings since July 2006.
CNN also dropped in primetime and in the key demographics, but at nowhere near the pace of MSNBC’s meteoric collapse. Breaking news clearly serves the struggling network well, even if it only mitigates the slow decline seen since president Jeff Zucker took over in early 2013.
And the only network riding high this month? Fox News, of course, which ended July up slightly in the key primetime demographic. Its competitors suffered brutal losses of over 30 percent. In fact, in ALL of cable this July, Fox News was rated fourth, while CNN came in at 27th and MSNBC at a rough 33rd.