Fox News, CNN Claim '04 Victories

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In a stunning showing, Fox News Channel outperformed its four cable-news rivals combined -- Cable News Network, MSNBC, CNBC and CNN Headline News -- in primetime this year, Fox News officials said Tuesday.

Fox News averaged 1.668 million viewers in primetime in 2004, according to Nielsen Media Research data supplied by the network. CNN averaged 855,000 viewers in primetime, while MSNBC had 374,000, CNBC had 161,000 and Headline had 212,000. The four networks’ combined averages totaled 1.602 million, less than Fox News.

The victory is the first such win for Fox News, which was also the only news network to rank in basic cable’s top 10 in primetime and total day.

Meanwhile, CNN Tuesday was touting its reach advantage among cable-news networks in 2004, claiming to have had a double-digit lead over Fox News and MSNBC in total unique viewers and a key demographic on an average monthly basis.

Citing data from Nielsen, CNN said it attracted 11% more unique viewers two years and older than Fox News and 32% more than MSNBC. CNN averaged 63.175 million, Fox News had 57.122 million and MSNBC 47.873 million.

In addition, CNN garnered 11% more unique viewers 25-54 than Fox News and 27% more than MSNBC. In that demographic, CNN averaged 29.909 million, Fox News had 26.994 million and MSNBC 23.543 million.

In addition, Headline outperformed MSNBC and CNBC in total viewers during the day. Headline averaged 213,000, MSNBC had 201,000 and CNBC had 207,000.