SOTU Ratings: Fox News, CNN Lead Weakened Cable Coverage

Fox News led the cable news networks on coverage of Tuesday’s State of the Union address from President Obama as viewership continued its downward trend, according to preliminary ratings.

Fox News averaged 3.47 million viewers during the 9-10:15 p.m. ET speech, down 26% from last year; the network also dipped 29% among the adults 25-54 news demo, falling behind CNN. CNN was the only cable net to see an increase from last year’s coverage, rising 36% to lead the news demo with 1.02 million; the network was also up 23% in total viewers with 2.56 million.

MSNBC suffered drops of 13% among total viewers to 1.99 million and 38% with just 472,000 viewers in the news demo.

Overall, the State of Union averaged 31.7 million viewers (down 5% from last year's 33.5 million) across 13 networks — CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, Azteca, Fox Business, Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, Al Jazeera America, Galavision and Mun2. Univision aired the speech on a tape delay.

From 9-11 p.m., which included post-address coverage, Fox News led among overall viewers with 3.49 million and 828,000 in the demo, while CNN averaged 2.38 million and led the demo with 982,000 viewers. MSNBC drew just under 2 million overall and 494,000 in the demo.

Among the broadcast networks, CBS led with 7.57 million viewers, followed by NBC with 6.25 million and ABC with 5.67 million. In the news demo, ABC led with 2.25 million, narrowly eclipsing NBC’s 2.2 million. CBS was third with 1.8 million adults 25-54 viewers.