Fox News Channel ratings are collapsing
The tectonic plates of cable news ratings are shifting, as Fox News struggles to recover from sexual harassment scandals and the departure of its most popular host, Bill O'Reilly. As the de facto champion of conservative views in the mass media, Fox News plays a vital role in the conservative movement, and these developments are a little scary, even for those of us who resent the recent drift of the channel.
The TV Newser ratings summaries tell the story. Compare the data from random pre-scandal date of Thursday, November 17, 2016 with the latest, Thursday, May 11.
Pre-scandal, FNC comfortably won the prime demo (age 25-54, the group that interests advertisers) in both prime time and all day. In prime time, FNC's 646,000 prime demo viewers were more than double either CNN (234%) or MSNBC (217.5%) totals on a November 2016 Thursday. The ratios were even better for Fox in the all-day traffic for the prime demo: 274% of MSNBC and 218% of CNN's prime demo viewers.
By last Thursday, MSNBC won the prime prime time demo with 635,000 viewers, 126% of FNC's prime time demo. Poor CNN was still beaten by Fox, but the ratio was painfully close to 100% – 109.3%, to be exact. The all-day traffic also shows decline for FNC, but it still managed to win the top spot, bringing in 104% of MSNBC's traffic and 106% of CNN's viewership.
I take no joy in these figures. We need Fox to thrive.
But if Sinclair decides to launch a second conservative cable news channel, the competition should improve Fox, as competition always does.
Hat tip: Peter Chowka