For 2012, Fox News Channel continued its
commanding lead among all cable news networks in terms of total viewer and key advertiser-desired viewers. Both Fox and MSNBC made big gains during the year, with CNN continuing to lose ground.
In prime-time total viewers, Fox News was leading with 2 million average viewers, per Nielsen, with MSNBC now firmly in second place -- albeit well behind -- at 913,000 viewers; CNN was at 670,000.
MSNBC made the biggest improvement, up 18% year-to-year, with Fox News also up by double digits, at 11%. CNN continued to struggle, down 3%.
Fox News also led when it came to full-day viewership in 2012: 1.16 million. MSNBC was at 498,000 and CNN at 408,000. MSNBC scored the best again in terms of percentage gain, up 15%; Fox also improved 8% year-to-year. CNN was down 15%.
Among key 25-54 viewers -- desirable to TV news advertisers -- Fox News was at 276,000, MSNBC, 166,000 and CNN, 131,000. MSNBC again made major gains -- up 12% -- while Fox inched up 1% and CNN was down 18% to 131,000.
Fox claimed the majority of the top individual cable news shows: "The O’Reilly Factor" was at 2.97 million; "Hannity" at 2.3 million; "Special Report with Bret Baier" at 1.95 million; "On The Record with Greta Van Susteren" at 1.87 million; and "The Five" at 1.83 million.