Cable TV is home to a set of television channels whose news broadcasts have become an important information source for many Americans. In 2022, both prime-time and daytime cable news audiences increased for Fox News but decreased for CNN, MSNBC and Newsmax. Explore patterns and longitudinal data about cable news below.

Audience

According to Comscore TV Essentials® data, viewership decreased for CNN and MSNBC but increased for Fox News in 2022. The average audience (defined as the average number of TVs tuned to a program throughout a time period) for the prime news time slot (8 to 11 p.m.) decreased by 25% for CNN, from 1.1 million in 2021 to 828,000 in 2022. MSNBC’s audience declined by 6% over this period, from about 881,000 to 827,000. On the other hand, Fox News’ audience increased from 1.9 million in 2021 to 2.1 million in 2022, a 10% increase.

Newsmax, a relatively smaller cable news channel that gained prominence during the 2020 election, had an average audience of 129,000 in 2022, an 18% decline from 2021.

For the daytime news time slot (6 a.m. to 6 p.m.), CNN, MSNBC and Newsmax saw decreases to their average audiences in 2022 while Fox News saw a 12% increase.

Average audience for cable TV news: Prime news


Average number of TVs tuning to news programming during the prime news time slot for CNN, Fox News and MSNBC

Year CNN Fox News MSNBC
2016 1,347,499 1,881,928 975,885
2017 989,398 1,465,800 1,077,559
2018 982,638 1,619,589 1,222,458
2019 1,051,061 1,919,173 1,251,094
2020 1,803,782 3,082,961 1,597,577
2021 1,103,262 1,944,864 880,639
2022 828,073 2,147,100 827,182

Note: Numbers represent CNN, Fox News and MSNBC for the full year and include live viewership only. “Average audience” is the average number of TVs tuned to an entity throughout the selected time frame. It is calculated by dividing the total hours viewed by the length of the time frame (in hours). National news is defined as any telecast that has been flagged by Comscore (either by notification from clients or from standard processes) as being a news-based program airing at approximately the same time across a majority of markets. The prime news time slot includes newscasts that air from 8 to 11 p.m. for national programs and for stations in Eastern/Pacific time zones or 7 to 10 p.m. for stations in other time zones.

Source: Comscore TV Essentials®, 2016-2022, U.S.

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Average number of TVs tuning to news programming during the prime news time slot for Newsmax

Year Newsmax
2020 115,118
2021 157,513
2022 129,218

Note: Numbers represent Newsmax for the full year and include live viewership only. “Average audience” is the average number of TVs tuned to an entity throughout the selected time frame. It is calculated by dividing the total hours viewed by the length of the time frame (in hours). National news is defined as any telecast that has been flagged by Comscore (either by notification from clients or from standard processes) as being a news-based program airing at approximately the same time across a majority of markets. The prime news time slot includes newscasts that air from 8 to 11 p.m. for national programs and for stations in Eastern/Pacific time zones or 7 to 10 p.m. for stations in other time zones.

Source: Comscore TV Essentials®, 2020-2022, U.S.

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Average audience for cable TV news: Daytime news


Average number of TVs tuning to news programming during the daytime news slot for CNN, Fox News and MSNBC

Year CNN Fox News MSNBC
2016 700,662 1,146,520 529,723
2017 679,947 1,090,430 569,357
2018 664,434 1,100,619 672,817
2019 687,418 1,253,005 765,725
2020 1,193,975 1,758,964 1,051,594
2021 802,264 1,188,700 589,781
2022 646,058 1,328,855 536,843

Note: Numbers represent CNN, Fox News and MSNBC for the full year and include live viewership only. “Average audience” is the average number of TVs tuned to an entity throughout the selected time frame. It is calculated by dividing the total hours viewed by the length of the time frame (in hours). National news is defined as any telecast that has been flagged by Comscore (either by notification from clients or from standard processes) as being a news-based program airing at approximately the same time across a majority of markets. The daytime news time slot includes newscasts that air from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for national programs and for stations in Eastern/Pacific time zones or 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. for stations in in other time zones.

Source: Comscore TV Essentials®, 2016-2022, U.S.

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Average number of TVs tuning to news programming during the daytime news time slot for Newsmax

Year Newsmax
2020 88,637
2021 110,138
2022 87,178

Note: Numbers represent Newsmax for the full year and include live viewership only. “Average audience” is the average number of TVs tuned to an entity throughout the selected time frame. It is calculated by dividing the total hours viewed by the length of the time frame (in hours). National news is defined as any telecast that has been flagged by Comscore (either by notification from clients or from standard processes) as being a news-based program airing at approximately the same time across a majority of markets. The daytime news time slot includes newscasts that air from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. for national programs and for stations in Eastern/Pacific time zones or 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. for stations in in other time zones.

Source: Comscore TV Essentials®, 2020-2022, U.S.

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Economics

Total revenue decreased for CNN and MSNBC and increased for Fox News in 2022, according to estimates from Kagan, a media research group in S&P Global Market Intelligence. CNN’s total revenue decreased by 5%, from $1.9 billion in 2021 to $1.8 billion in 2022. Similarly, MSNBC’s revenue fell from $977 million to $903 million, an 8% decrease. Fox News saw a 5% increase, from $3.1 billion in 2021 to $3.3 billion in 2022.

License (affiliate) fees, one of two main sources of revenue for the major cable channels, remained relatively stable for all three. Advertising revenue, these channels’ other main source of revenue, decreased by 13% for CNN and by 11% for MSNBC in 2022, while Fox News saw an 11% increase.

In 2022, Newsmax made $66 million in revenue, a 14% decrease from 2021. Since Newsmax had zero license fee revenue, virtually all of the channel’s revenue came from advertising.

Total revenue for cable TV


Total annual revenue (in U.S. dollars)

Year CNN Fox News MSNBC
2006 $822,600,000 $688,140,000 $270,727,000
2007 $881,300,000 $825,791,000 $301,425,000
2008 $1,026,800,000 $1,084,679,000 $366,565,000
2009 $1,001,800,000 $1,282,434,000 $357,252,000
2010 $1,010,400,000 $1,466,000,000 $392,000,000
2011 $1,080,500,000 $1,624,100,000 $449,300,000
2012 $1,078,733,000 $1,812,448,000 $503,205,000
2013 $1,098,630,000 $1,922,476,000 $503,744,000
2014 $1,126,692,000 $2,010,738,000 $501,222,000
2015 $1,207,940,000 $2,209,110,000 $510,557,000
2016 $1,470,605,000 $2,452,459,000 $666,813,000
2017 $1,631,451,000 $2,663,411,000 $798,640,000
2018 $1,677,922,000 $2,620,603,000 $963,067,000
2019 $1,703,186,000 $2,711,220,000 $1,003,677,000
2020 $2,010,239,000 $3,009,488,000 $1,086,359,000
2021 $1,860,771,000 $3,108,864,000 $977,322,000
2022 $1,774,389,000 $3,260,143,000 $902,603,000

Note: Numbers are estimates and projections prepared by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, and often are revised annually, even for previous years. Displayed numbers indicate most recent updates. Beginning in 2017, Kagan’s network economics methodology accounts for subscribers and revenue from virtual multichannel services.

Source: Estimates and projections by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.nn

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Total annual revenue (in U.S. dollars)

Year Newsmax
2020 $55,248,000
2021 $77,202,000
2022 $66,159,000

Note: Numbers are estimates and projections prepared by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, and often are revised annually, even for previous years. Displayed numbers indicate most recent updates. Beginning in 2017, Kagan’s network economics methodology accounts for subscribers and revenue from virtual multichannel services.

Source: Estimates and projections by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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Advertising revenue for cable TV


Net annual advertising revenue (in U.S. dollars)

Year CNN Fox News MSNBC
2012 $327,718,000 $742,329,000 $244,394,000
2013 $319,796,000 $776,401,000 $223,781,000
2014 $324,866,000 $774,192,000 $212,633,000
2015 $361,461,000 $814,858,000 $222,219,000
2016 $538,782,000 $916,715,000 $351,360,000
2017 $615,275,000 $1,007,565,000 $467,232,000
2018 $595,641,000 $854,507,000 $572,127,000
2019 $574,068,000 $846,768,000 $619,544,000
2020 $841,632,000 $1,066,214,000 $709,355,000
2021 $679,467,000 $1,037,508,000 $594,716,000
2022 $590,409,000 $1,146,806,000 $529,833,000

Note: Numbers are estimates and projections prepared by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, and often are revised annually, even for previous years. Displayed numbers indicate most recent updates. Beginning in 2017, Kagan’s network economics methodology accounts for subscribers and revenue from virtual multichannel services.

Source: Estimates and projections by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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Net annual advertising revenue (in U.S. dollars)

Year Newsmax
2020 $53,857,000
2021 $75,769,000
2022 $64,683,000

Note: Numbers are estimates and projections prepared by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, and often are revised annually, even for previous years. Displayed numbers indicate most recent updates. Beginning in 2017, Kagan’s network economics methodology accounts for subscribers and revenue from virtual multichannel services.

Source: Estimates and projections by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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CNN, Fox News, MSNBC and Newsmax all saw their total profit decline from 2021 to 2022, with decreases ranging from 5% for Fox News to 23% for Newsmax.

Total profit for cable TV


Total annual profit (in U.S. dollars)

Year CNN Fox News MSNBC
2006 $256,300,000 $215,602,000 $84,206,000
2007 $291,000,000 $304,360,000 $109,691,000
2008 $409,900,000 $502,588,000 $148,087,000
2009 $417,500,000 $640,734,000 $159,724,000
2010 $395,300,000 $779,900,000 $167,500,000
2011 $429,500,000 $884,200,000 $190,500,000
2012 $401,584,000 $1,006,237,000 $235,869,000
2013 $347,654,000 $1,121,176,000 $227,181,000
2014 $321,642,000 $1,178,676,000 $181,853,000
2015 $430,887,000 $1,305,872,000 $206,253,000
2016 $634,195,000 $1,471,409,000 $309,697,000
2017 $745,252,000 $1,628,250,000 $372,837,000
2018 $752,994,000 $1,521,122,000 $428,873,000
2019 $755,073,000 $1,552,872,000 $540,163,000
2020 $1,080,313,000 $1,802,881,000 $660,657,000
2021 $972,378,000 $1,870,250,000 $546,099,000
2022 $892,302,000 $1,780,202,000 $454,681,000

Note: Numbers are estimates and projections prepared by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, and often are revised annually, even for previous years. Displayed numbers indicate most recent updates. Beginning in 2017, Kagan’s network economics methodology accounts for subscribers and revenue from virtual multichannel services.

Source: Estimates and projections by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligencenn

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Total annual profit (in U.S. dollars)

Year Newsmax
2020 $26,986,000
2021 $48,335,000
2022 $37,002,000

Note: Numbers are estimates and projections prepared by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, and often are revised annually, even for previous years. Displayed numbers indicate most recent updates. Beginning in 2017, Kagan’s network economics methodology accounts for subscribers and revenue from virtual multichannel services.

Source: Estimates and projections by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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Newsroom investment

Total newsroom spending by CNN, MSNBC and Newsmax was fairly flat in 2022. CNN and Newsmax’s expenses remained largely unchanged in 2022, while MSNBC saw its expenses increase 4%. Meanwhile, Fox News increased newsroom spending by 19%, spending about $1.5 billion on newsroom expenditures in 2022.

Newsroom spending for cable TV


Total newsroom spending (in U.S. dollars)

Year CNN Fox News MSNBC
2006 $566,300,000 $472,538,000 $186,521,000
2007 $590,300,000 $521,431,000 $191,734,000
2008 $616,900,000 $582,091,000 $218,478,000
2009 $584,300,000 $641,700,000 $197,528,000
2010 $615,100,000 $686,100,000 $224,500,000
2011 $651,000,000 $739,900,000 $258,800,000
2012 $677,148,000 $806,211,000 $267,336,000
2013 $750,975,000 $801,299,000 $276,563,000
2014 $805,049,000 $832,063,000 $319,368,000
2015 $777,053,000 $903,238,000 $304,304,000
2016 $836,411,000 $981,050,000 $357,116,000
2017 $886,198,000 $1,035,161,000 $425,803,000
2018 $924,928,000 $1,099,481,000 $534,194,000
2019 $948,113,000 $1,158,347,000 $463,514,000
2020 $929,927,000 $1,206,608,000 $425,702,000
2021 $888,393,000 $1,238,614,000 $431,223,000
2022 $882,087,000 $1,479,941,000 $447,922,000

Note: Numbers are estimates and projections prepared by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, and often are revised annually, even for previous years. Displayed numbers indicate most recent updates. Beginning in 2017, Kagan’s network economics methodology accounts for subscribers and revenue from virtual multichannel services.

Source: Estimates and projections by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.n

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Total newsroom spending (in U.S. dollars)

Year Newsmax
2000 $28,262,000
2010 $28,867,000
2020 $29,157,000

Note: Numbers are estimates and projections prepared by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, and often are revised annually, even for previous years. Displayed numbers indicate most recent updates. Beginning in 2017, Kagan’s network economics methodology accounts for subscribers and revenue from virtual multichannel services.

Source: Estimates and projections by Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

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Find out more

This fact sheet was compiled by Research Assistant Sarah Naseer.

Read the methodology.

Pew Research Center is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts, its primary funder. This is the latest analysis in Pew Research Center’s ongoing investigation of the state of news, information and journalism in the digital age, a research program funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, with generous support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Find more in-depth explorations of cable news by following the links below:

  • U.S. newsroom employment has fallen 26% since 2008, July 13, 2021
  • Broad agreement in U.S. – even among partisans – on which news outlets are part of the ‘mainstream media’, May 7, 2021
  • Large Majorities of Newsmax and OAN News Consumers Also Go to Fox News, March 23, 2021
  • Cable and satellite TV use has dropped dramatically in the U.S. since 2015, March 17, 2021
  • Measuring News Consumption in a Digital Era, Dec. 8, 2020