Cable News Viewers Are Getting Smarter – Dumping Fox News

In the first quarter of 2013 the trends for cable news viewership are affirming past performance. And once again, Fox News is losing viewers at a faster rate than its competitors.

Cable News Ratings

While remaining on top overall, Fox lost nearly 20% of its total audience as compared to the same period last year. Even worse, in the critical advertising demographic of 18-54 year olds, Fox scared off a full third of their viewers. Only MSNBC managed to stay relatively flat, holding onto most of their audience.

On specific programs, Fox’s top rated show, The O’Reilly Factor, dropped by 26%. His primetime colleagues, Sean Hannity and Greta Van Susteren, similarly flopped by 28% and 35% respectively. That contrasts sharply with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show that increased 5%, the only program in its time period to rise.

These numbers attest to the downward spiral that Fox has been experiencing since last year’s election. They recognized the serious disconnect between them and the public as they scrambled to make personnel changes and ditch some of their most alienating personalities. That overhaul saw the departure of Sarah Palin and Dick Morris, and it resulted in far fewer appearances by Karl Rove and Donald Trump.

Those adjustments do not seem to have turned the ebbing tide that saw Fox sink to its lowest point in twelve years in January. Which is not surprising since their window-dressing alterations simply exchanged their past losers with characters like Scott Brown, Erick Erickson, and Mark Levin, who seem unlikely to have a positive impact.

Furthermore, MSNBC’s steady performance is poised for future gains as demonstrated by the debut of All In with Chris Hayes. The new Hayes program improved on the numbers of the Ed Schultz Show that it replaced (+45% in the demo), and fell just 10,000 short of O’Reilly’s numbers. Also notable is that the younger demo for Hayes represents about a third of his total audience, while O’Reilly’s demo viewers are a mere 14% of his total. That certifies the strength MSNBC has with the next generation of news consumers, and the weariness of the long-in-the-tooth O’Reilly/Fox fans.

Hopefully this is evidence that America’s television viewers are evolving to become a more discriminating audience that values truth, integrity, and intelligent discourse. The Fox model of leading viewers around by the nose, misrepresenting the facts, and aiming for the shallowest, most inflammatory slapfights on the air, may be losing its appeal (except on the Fox Nation web site). That would be a positive step forward and proof that humans are advancing in the passage of time. Thanks, Darwin.


7 thoughts on “Cable News Viewers Are Getting Smarter – Dumping Fox News

  1. Of course, Shlox Snooze will say this is all Obama’s fault…

  2. Fox will continue to decline. They will not, in my opinion, drop to levels that are fatal. The reason is that Right Wing nutjobs only have one television station to turn to- Fox News. They’re always going to have a 2-3 million person base of consolidated wackjobs that are locked in their homes with rifles.

    I wish it was different, but most of the nutjobs will remain loyal despite the lies and the crushing reality outside their doors. Just my opinion.

  3. The age group represented is 25-54, not 18-34.

    • Oops. Right you are. Thanks for proofing me.

  4. This is my first time stumbling across this gem of a site. I see Mark Howard has been telling us since at least Jan 2012 of the imminent demise of Fox News. The numbers–from the day before yesterday at 8PM–show more than triple the views of your vaunted MSNBC. Please try to spin that. And that really, really pisses you off. What you fail to comprehend is the liberal worldview-shattering reality that those with conservative views are not 2-3 million wackjobs (as a reader chimed in above), but millions and millions of people–U.S. citizens just like you. 59,134,475 took time out of their day to pull a lever for Mitt Romney–that’s more than every man, woman, and infant in Spain. And this widespread belief that you are more intelligent is self-indulgent fantasy. Charles Krauthammer, for example, that medical doctor “moron,” will dismantle any liberal member of the commentariat you choose.
    So will I. My IQ is demonstrably measured in the 99th percentile–bring it on.
    Here’s your numbers, read ’em and weep. (From “TV By the Numbers”)
    [And if you delete this comment you’re spineless. I love liberal FB pages that champion tolerance–yet one word breathed against His Royal Eminence and you’re deleted and blocked. They can dish it out–but they can’t take it.]

    Net 8P P2+ (000s) 25-54 (000s) 35-64 (000s)

    FNC THE OREILLY FACTOR 2,311 365 742
    CNN Anderson Cooper 360 488 158 249
    MSNBC ALL IN W/ CHRIS HAYES 612 217 295
    HLN Nancy Grace 739 216 378

    • Well, Mr. 99th Percentile, if you’re so smart then why do you not understand that cherry-picking a single day of ratings is not comparable to a three month average? What’s more, you fail to grasp that this article is not asserting that Fox doesn’t have high ratings, just that it is declining at a faster rate than its competitors. That’s a fact and it doesn’t take spin to recognize. And your criticism of the commenter above shows you didn’t understand that he was talking about the TV audience, not the entire population. That’s a lot of failure for someone who claims such a high IQ.

      As for Charles Krauthammer, he is apparently an intelligent person, but that doesn’t mean that his political biases are correct. In fact, he is so weighted down by his ultra-conservative prejudices that he is easily refuted in a debate.

      Finally, I find your preemptive paranoia about me deleting your comment to be hilarious. You obviously have not observed that I enjoy contrary views here. You also seem to value your own commentary more than it deserves. What exactly in your comment should I be worried so much about that I would bother to delete it? It seems pretty light weight to me, and easy to rebut.

      • Fox is the TV version of the talk radio schtick — you gin up some outrage, leave out all context, fudge facts and build an audience of people who get an emotional charge out of being outraged. As such it is a cancer on the body politic.

        That said Mark does have a point, however oafishly made (if he’s impressed by MD pundits he should listen to Howard Dean). News Corpse has been somewhat guilty of cherry picking and overstating the decline of Fox, both on this blog and on DKos. Though MSNBC has grown, Fox remains much larger. And unfortunately it probably will for a considerable time. Junk TV works ratingswise. Just ask Honey Boo Boo.

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