CNN led on the demo side and Fox News Channel in total viewers for coverage of Super Tuesday, with both networks establishing all-time highs for a night of primary and caucus coverage. MSNBC, on the other hand, lagged well behind its rivals and was the only network down from 2008 Super Tuesday.
Overall, according to preliminary Nielsen estimates, roughly 11 million people watched one of three cable news networks during primetime Tuesday, when primary and caucus results from eleven states were revealed — up from 9.3 million on the comparable night eight years ago. About a month ago, FNC, CNN and MSNBC drew 10.2 million for primetime coverage of the Iowa caucuses.
CNN registered the largest audience in the adults 25-54 news demo than any cable network on record for a primary/caucus night, averaging 1.6 million from 8 to 11. Fox News followed with 1.36 million, and MSNBC lagged far behind with 625,000.
In total viewers, Fox delivered another record-breaking primary night with 4.88 million viewers during primetime. CNN drew 4.10 million, and MSNBC about 1.98 million.
Compared with the 2008 Super Tuesday, Fox News Channel was up the most — rising 40% in total viewers and 25% in the demo. CNN was up too, growing 12% overall and 5% in the demo, but MSNBC lost nearly 40% of its demo audience and 6% of its overall audience.
Broadcast networks ABC, CBS and NBC devoted the 10 p.m. hour to Super Tuesday, combining for about 13 million viewers. CNN noted that it beat both ABC and CBS in adults 25-54, and was especially dominant in adults 18-34 (515,000 to 316,000 for ABC and 239,000 for ABC).
NBC, boosted by a strong lead-in from reality hit “The Voice,” was the overall leader at 10 p.m., drawing 5.88 million viewers to best CBS (4.90 million) and ABC (3.19 million), according to Nielsen. The Peacock was even more dominant in adults 25-54 with about 2.3 million in the demo (1.9 rating), while CBS drew about 1.42 million (1.2 rating) and ABC about 1.2 million (1.0 rating).
CNN Digital had another big night, with 14 million unique visitors and 3 million mobile app users, while also exceeding the traffic of all primaries and caucuses going back to 2008 in video starts. CNN Politics experiences its second best day of the 2015-16 campaign cycle with more than 8 million unique visitors.
Next up on the political docket are a Republican debate tomorrow night on Fox News Channel, and a Democratic debate Sunday night on CNN. Both will be held in Michigan in advance of the state’s primary next Tuesday.