Fox News Is No Longer The Number One Cable News Network

Continuing a long pattern of decline, Fox News once again underperforms its competitors. The first quarter of a presidential election year can generally be expected to boost viewership for news networks. For CNN and MSNBC this has been markedly apparent. For Fox News…not so much.

As a result of the hyper-growth of CNN’s prime time schedule (persons 25-54), they actually finished ahead of Fox News for the first time in six years. Another quarter like this and Fox will finish third behind both CNN and MSNBC.

The stagnation of Fox’s audience can be traced in part to the downward spiral of the Bush presidency. Fox has long tethered its fortunes to a conservative ideology that has fallen out of favor. Now they have trouble attracting either viewers or guests from the more moderate and/or progressive population. They also have an age problem. Fox News has both the oldest skewing audience and the oldest prime time line-up. That combination produces a staleness that is reflected in their ratings. It’s ironic that the Republican candidate for president is also the oldest to ever run for the office. He should be a perfect fit for Fox, if not for America.

In addition to CNN’s win over Fox in the average ratings statistics, Fox has fallen to fourth place (with 24.5 million) in cumulative ratings, behind CNN (33.2), MSNBC (28.4), and Headline News (25.9). Cumes represent the number of the network’s unique viewers and are arguably a more precise measure for news programming (explanation here).

So contrary to the boasting of Fox News narcissists, they are not the ratings juggernaut that they would have you believe. In fact, sooner than many might have predicted, they will be reduced to also-rans. In advance of that you can expect that they will fiddle with their programming to deliver even more sensationalistic, high decibel, conflict-driven fare that virtually drips with steamy melodrama, controversy and a nightmarish dread of Muslims, immigrants and Democrats.

11 comments

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  1. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.

  2. May they die a grisly and spectacular death!

    Not the people of course…just the progandists network.

    • Mu on April 2, 2008 at 8:15 pm

    . . . growth strategy is only halfway understanding human psychology.  Faux News understood, a long time ago, that it’s quite easy to whip-up the crazies and capture a large share of the market (even the largest) by puking forth over-the-top, sensationalist rants and spewing overtly biased agitprop for the RNC.  That was not — from a pure marketing standpoint — a bad strategy (although it kind of dooms their souls to eternal damnation).

    But what it DIDN’T understand was that once you whip people up into a fervor, you’ve got to sustain that fervor and that’s no easy task.  People get tired, emotionally drained.  And, so, what the agitpropagator has to do is continue to ramp-up the hysteria, to keep taking it to the next level, to turn it up to 11, then 12, then 13, ad absurdum.  And, after a while, it just starts falling apart:  people either get bored, or the whole shtick just becomes self-parodying; usually a combination of the two.

    So, that’s what’s up with Fox.  

    Mu . . .

     

  3. a not fast enough death… my favorite part of this has to

    be your use of the Monty Python foot!  Love it  😉

  4. Love the picture, it says it all!

  5. Interesting for obvious reasons.

    Ironic because I have long hoped that Fox would lose the ratings race to the other cables news outfits, and the clear evidence of it comes just when I have started to change my own viewing habits.

    Olbermann has been off the Tivo since he became all Hillary-hate, Obama-love, all the time.  I see no other reason to watch MSNBC; I’ve always despised Tweety.

    It’s been back to CNN for me.

    Frankly, long term, I think Fox will beat out MSNBC for second.  Olbermann has been exposed (IMO) as the hack he has always been, a left-leaning Bill’O-light.  And, I don’t think I’m alone in this opinion.

    Good news, though.

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