Monday’s presidential inauguration was a television event that was heavily promoted by all of the networks covering it. But one network was conspicuously short of viewers during President Obama’s speech and throughout the broadcast day.
While overall viewing was down for all three cable news networks compared to 2009’s inauguration, Fox took the deepest dive. CNN led during the President’s address with 3.1 million total viewers. MSNBC came in second with 2.3 million. Fox was dead last with 1.3 million. In the critical 25-54 year old demographic the numbers for Fox were even more dismal: CNN had 1.1 million in the demo. MSNBC had 706,000. Trailing significantly was Fox News with only 294,000, which was less than half of MSNBC and just over a quarter of CNN.
To some extent it is not surprising that the network that appeals most to Obama haters did not deliver their audience of whiny-ass sourpusses. It’s a constituency of sore losers who aren’t interested in staying informed and were probably busy cuddling their Bushmasters and forwarding chain emails about tyranny and the collapse of civilization.
What’s most startling in the ratings data is the relative disparities between the networks and their declines. Fox News was off a jaw-dropping 75% (82% demo) from 2009. CNN sunk a hefty 61% (67% demo). MSNBC, by comparison did fairly well with a mere 25% decline (37% demo). Digging deeper, these numbers tell us something that is even more foreboding for Fox. The percentage of their audience composed of the lucrative younger demos falls way below that of their competitors. CNN’s demo audience was 35% of their total viewers. MSNBC has 31% in the demo. But only 22% of Fox’s viewers are 25-54 years old.
That means that the next generation of news consumers is avoiding the severely conservative channel in droves. What’s more, MSNBC’s primetime anchors Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell were number one in their time slots for 2012 in the 18-34 demo. MSNBC has also led in African-American and Latino viewers. So by every measure MSNBC is positioned for future gains, while Fox is bracing for the bottom to fall out.
These numbers are not merely tabulated for bragging rights. They represent the potential for ad revenue. As the numbers fall, so do Fox’s profits. And with their dearth of the desirable youth demos, the advertising Fox maintains will command lower rates.
To top it off, Fox is actually advertising their own unpopularity. Today an article on Fox Nation beamed that “Viewership of Obama’s 2nd Inauguration Plunges.” It’s one of those rare occasions when Fox Nation posted something that was true.
However, it is also true that the lion’s share of that plunge was the 75% of Fox viewers who tuned out. Apparently Fox is so intent on publicizing information that they believe reflects badly on the President that they didn’t even notice that it looks even worse for themselves. Well, nobody ever accused them of being brainiacs.