Last week, we saw two different views on CNN's ratings. One was from New York Times' Bill Carter, who posted an article titled, CNN Falls Behind MSNBC in Annual Prime-Time Ratings:
CNN will finish 2009 behind MSNBC in prime-time ratings, the first time CNN has ever trailed a competitor other than the Fox News Channel over a full calendar year.
That finish had been expected. In recent months, CNN, which continues to stand behind its policy of steering clear of the opinion-based shows that draw large prime-time audiences for its competitors, has also trailed its own sister network, HLN (formerly Headline News). CNN has frequently finished fourth in the news channel category.
CNN will finish the fourth quarter of 2009 in fourth place — another first — and with two weeks left has been fourth on more than 100 nights this year.
But the end-of-the-year ratings for the news networks — which were being presented this week because nothing is likely to change by Jan. 1 — are bringing some other, less expected, results. One is the ability of Fox News, which had the biggest ratings year in its history, to grow even against the heavily viewed election year of 2008. (Both CNN and MSNBC were down sharply from last year.)
Another surprise has been the steady growth, up 9 percent in prime time, of HLN, where hosts do offer opinions.
Perhaps most surprising is the overall growth in viewing for all the news networks over the last several years. For example, even with its competitive problems in prime time, CNN has had more viewers on average this year than it did in 2006 or 2007. So has MSNBC. But they both have been left in the dust by Fox News.
... to read the full article: CNN Falls Behind MSNBC in Annual Prime-Time Ratings
The other perspective: CNN's. This press release focuses on a different ratings measurement:
In November, roughly one month following the unveiling of the new CNN.com, the CNN Digital Network continues to hold the No. 1 position among ALL News and Information sites in several key metrics, including total video streams and time spent watching video. Additionally, compared to last year, CNN Digital has increased video streams by 6%, paying off CNN.com’s video-driven redesign, while No. 2 MSNBC Digital has dropped by 3%.
No. 1 in Video Streams: 89.1 million streams, beating No. 2 MSNBC Digital by 2.6 million streams and No. 3 Yahoo! News by 36.9 million streams
No. 1 in Time Spent Watching Video: 215.5 million minutes, beating No. 2 MSNBC Digital by 21.2 million minutes and No. 3 Fox News Digital by 80.8 million minutes. CNN Digital is also the No. 1 news video property year-to-date averaging more than 318 million minutes per month.
November marks the 14th consecutive month that CNN Digital has been No. 1 in the news and information category in total usage minutes and in share. CNN Digital has also been No. 1 in time per person for the past 6 consecutive months.
No. 1 in Total Usage Minutes: 1.1 billion total usage minutes, beating No 2. Wikipedia by 23 million minutes and No. 3 Weather Channel by 401 million minutes.
No. 1 in Share: 9%, beating Yahoo! News (4%), Weather Channel (5%) and Wikipedia (8%).
No. 1 in Time Per Person: 29 minutes, 5.8 minutes more than No. 2 Fox News Digital and among the top 20 sites.
When compared to the websites of its cable and network news competitors, CNN continues to attract a larger audience than any other TV news brand on the Internet.
No. 1 in Unique Audience: 36.6 million unique visitors, beating MSNBC Digital by more than one million and Fox News Digital by more than 20 million. CNN Digital also beat CBS News Digital by 26.2 million and ABC News Digital by 23.7 million.
No. 1 in Unique Video Viewers: 10.9 million viewers, beating MSNBC Digital by 11%, Fox News Digital by 137%, CBS News Digital by 990% and ABC News Digital by 143%.
This also marks the 34th consecutive month that CNN Digital was No. 1 in the news and current events category for mobile according to Nielsen Mobile Media View. (Source: Nielsen Mobile Media View - October 2009 – most recent data available)
No. 1 in Mobile: 12.1 million unique visitors, surpassing the nearest competitor Yahoo! News by 104%.
No. 1 in Mobile Video: 1.9 million video viewers per quarter, more people watch video on CNN Mobile than any other TV news mobile property. (Source: Nielsen Mobile Media View –Q3 2009)