News has been a hot commodity over the past year or so, largely due to the 2016 presidential election that has been filled with scandals and controversies from the very beginning. The already heated race only got hotter in October, and CNN has the ratings to prove it. CNN's news coverage in October drew the highest key demographic ratings of all cable news, including the long-dominating Fox News, for the first time in a whopping 15 years.
October 2016 saw CNN dominate in the 25-54 age demographic, which ranks as the all-important range in the business of cable news. The network beat the numbers for Fox News in both primetime and total day calculations for the first time since way back in 2001, another year rocked by political news. October also brought CNN's highest numbers in a single month since 2005. All in all, CNN had a month worth bragging about in a big news year.
Unfortunately, CNN wasn't on top in all categories. Fox News continued its dominance in overall viewership. In fact, Fox News set a record of its own in October as the top basic cable network in viewers for a fifth month in 2016, with an edge in primetime and total day.
Still, all things considered, it doesn't reflect poorly on CNN that Fox News still had the biggest audience. Fox News received a late-month boost thanks to the latest wave of news concerning Hillary Clinton's emails, and Chris Wallace brought an additional bump after gaining national exposure from acting as the moderator of the third and final presidential debate. CNN is lucky to have scored as high in the 25-54 demographic as it did, since CNN's top-rated show is Anderson Cooper 360, and not one but two Fox News programs beat it last month.
CNN and Fox News aren't the only cable networks to enjoy a boost thanks to the 2016 election cycle. MSNBC can boast impressive numbers of its own, although none that can match its two top competitors. The increased viewership for all three is especially notable when compared to the numbers from October 2015. Deadline reports that Fox News was up 74%, CNN was up 100%, and MSNBC was up by a whopping 168% from last year's ratings. It should be interesting to see how the numbers change for November 2016 following the general election. The hot-button topics will undoubtedly still be pretty hot, but the deadline of the November 8 election will no longer be an issue. Assuming it all goes smoothly.
Cable ratings as a whole have been affected by the 2016 presidential election, with David Zaslav of Discovery having revealed that his network has experienced major drops in ratings due to to cable viewers tuning into news rather than its original programming. We'll have to wait and see what changes are in store for cable news in 2017. Who knows? Maybe CNN can beat Fox News in viewership as well.