If Trump loses, however, newspapers and magazines may shed subscribers who signed up to support media outlets that the president attacks. “The tribal representation of subscribing as political act loses some of its strength,” said Tony Haile, CEO of Scroll, a startup that sells subscriptions to an ad-free online news bundle.

A Biden victory could also pose a dilemma for newsrooms. An ex-President Trump likely wouldn’t cede the spotlight, and covering his political opinions could prove irresistible to news outlets, VandeHei said.

“If on one hand you’ve got Biden who is predictable and conventional and you have all these wild antics on other side, do you just ignore it or do you cover it?” he asked. “It’ll be a big test for the media.”…

Longer-term, the pandemic will likely continue to attract viewers. And Trump could still be a ratings magnet as he faces legal challenges from authorities in New York.

If Trump loses, said Jon Klein, a former president of CNN/U.S., it could be “like the end of season 1 of your favorite binge-worthy drama. There’s a huge cliffhanger, but that’s just the start.”