Fox News: Last In Online Ratings

Pray for Fox NewsFor much of the last decade Fox News has dominated the Nielsen ratings for cable news networks. They spend a great deal of their time on air bragging about it too. In reality they haven’t got that much to boast about. Their audience is relatively larger because they corral conservative viewers on one network while all the other networks divide the broader, more mainstream audience into smaller shares. And even with high numbers for cable news, it needs to be noted that cable news is a far smaller market than that for broadcast news. The lowest rated national broadcast news program (CBS) still gets higher ratings than the highest rated cable news program (O’Reilly).

So despite their Narcissistic self-glorification, Fox News doesn’t have nearly the influence they like to pretend to have. And nowhere is that more apparent than on the Internet. MediaWeek reports that Fox News’ presence online is dead last in their sector, landing far behind CNN, MSNBC, and even Yahoo News.

“Foxnews.com averages around 12 million or 13 million monthly unique users, according to Nielsen Online, rarely approaching the 35 million to 40 million uniques that leaders Yahoo News, MSNBC and CNN regularly deliver in aggregate.”

The article offers speculation as to the reasons for Fox’s failure ranging from presentation quality to age demographics to the inability to translate the Fox flavor from TV to Cyberspace. There is some truth in all of that. Particularly the difficulty in recreating an online version of Fox’s trademark shoutcasting model, with blustery partisans and rhetorical melodrama. But whatever the reasons, Fox faces some troubling prospects for the future.

Being the number one cable news network may not be such a prize in the years ahead. News consumers, along with everyone else, are moving online for more and more of their information, interaction, and commerce. The next generation may have a very limited relationship with cable news, other than for entertainment and affirmation of positions already held. The preferred destination for learning about your world and your community is increasingly the Internet. This trend is even more evident in younger populations who will shape the future market for news delivery.

What will that leave Fox News when cable news is an afterthought and Fox is last in Internet news? It may be too soon to tell. The Internet marketplace is still fairly malleable and Fox has plenty of money to throw at it. Rupert Murdoch seems concerned about the digital future and has been touting the iPad as a game-changing device, though his focus in that area has been on his crumbling newspaper empire.

Perhaps the most profound observations in this regard are related to News Corp’s history with new media. It isn’t pretty. They had an early failure with the Delphi Internet service. They bombed with their acquisition of MySpace which nosedived promptly after the deal was signed. Their FoxNation site is an embarrassingly contrived pandering to the most repugnant elements of their right-wing base. They have taken a strikingly short-sighted position against Google and other news aggregators (despite being an aggregator themselves). And they are rolling out a doomed policy of locking up their content behind pay walls which will only serve to reduce their customer base further.

If the past is any indicator, Fox News is headed for more misery online, though there is this one bit of consolation: They will always have their most devoted disciples. Their rank for loyalty amongst visitors is the one bright spot for them in the ratings numbers. However, it also exposes their weakness as a niche enterprise that is operating more as a cult than a news outlet. With the past a trail of ruin, and no indication that the future is being attended to, Fox News is headed into a well deserved irrelevancy.

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16 thoughts on “Fox News: Last In Online Ratings

  1. I didn’t realize how dishonestly Faux frames their mediocre ratings. It reminds me of the movie the Jerk.

    Steve Martin (the weight guesser) stipulates that the contestant couldn’t win any of the better prizes on the top shelf, bottom shelf, nor anything on the left or right sides. Possible prize area: “Anything in this three inches right in here, in this area.”

    Weight Guesser scene

  2. “Shoutcasting”

    You should copyright that.

    • I already have. And you’ll be hearing from my attorney for using it in your comment. ;-)

  3. This piece is a hoot … spoken like a true sour grape….

  4. It’s not just that Fox corrals all the conservative watchers, but they still take more than all the other cable networks (cnn, msnbc, hln) combined.

  5. When you sign up for basic cable you get Fox but not MSNBC. And that idiot Murdoch thinks he can charge money for net content. He wouldn’t sell half his rags if you didn’t have the page3 girl showing her tits. And the main similarity of his core audience is their proxomity to a date with the undertaker.

  6. Mark, Like most liberal bloggers, you spin/sell comparisons between apples and oranges while ALWAYS condemning those not of like minds. Fact 1: Fox News consistently draws more TV viewers daily than the TOTAL of CNN, MSNBC and HLN. Fact 2: millions of people will continually watch TV as well as secure info from the web. To prove your point you had to AMASS all the stated websites to show that more people surfed there than at Fox. Try huffing and puffing and blowing smoke up someone else’s butt. What a poor debater you are with little but anger to build on. nite-nite winer!

    • You’re facts are faulty.

      1) Fox News does NOT draw more TV viewers than CNN. Fox has higher ratings, but CNN draws more viewers. It is the difference between program ratings and cumes (study Nielsen for more info).

      2) If you think that TV will always be the dominant source of news, you’re nuts. And I didn’t amass any web sites to prove that Fox had less traffic. Each of the web sites individually beat Fox.

      Nite-nite to you too.

  7. Mark,what is your last name? Usually legetimate writers give their full names. And what are your credentials? Have you ever published anything,worked for any news organization,written for a newspaper. Your comments to Patrick regarding the viewership of the news programs-where are you getting your information?-without proof why would anyone believe you. Look on http://tvbythenumbers.com/category/ratings/cable-news, this provides the viewers for each cable news organization. I can not guarantee these are correct, but with no proof on your part I will tend to believe that website.
    Regarding your comment “Fox news does not draw more TV viewers than CNN”–where is your proof. If yor’re going to make a statement like this, where is your proof. If you can not prove it,
    are you pulling this out of your ass or flat out lying.

    • You can judge my credibility by my product.

      For more info on how CNN draws more viewers, search for this…
      Cable News “Cume” Audience, by Channel
      on this page.

  8. Hawdy Good Job I Found You on, Yahho sure I will Stop Over In the future Do not forget 2 Stop By my website

  9. NBC and YAHOO are many peoples home page and Email providers, so to compare them to Fox News Online is a little unfair.
    And yet with so little influence as you would infer, the White House and other liberal politicians want to blame Fox for their struggles.

  10. Too bad Bill O’Relly whooped Whoopi Goldberg’s butt on, “The View”. :) THe View is just another example of a program/media outlet that produces garbage and bogus facts to the American people. That’s why Republicans beat the Dems brains out on Election Day:)

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