Given all the attention paid to the high profile battles between Donald Trump and several anchors and show hosts at Fox News you’d think that there would more than a little bad blood to go around. The on again off again relationship seems, for the moment at least, to be back on track now that The Donald has gone back on Bill O’Reilly. Has this applied some sort of salve to the wounds suffered between Trump and Roger Ailes? Only their hairdressers know for sure, but the media executive probably can’t help but have a smile on his face after reading the latest ratings report. (Variety)
Thanks in part to the Republican Presidential Primary Debate and the draw of Donald Trump, Fox News Channel was the most popular primetime cable network for the third quarter — a first for the channel.
FNC’s third quarter saw double-digit increases in both primetime total viewers and the key 25-54 demo over the same time last year, averaging 1,952,000 in total viewers (up 10%) and 395,000 in the key demo (up 28%), according to Nielsen’s “live plus same-day” estimates. The debate, which aired Aug. 6, brought in 24 million viewers overall. By comparison, CNN averaged 814,000 and MSNBC drew 625,000 in primetime.
Seeing Fox beating the other cable news networks specifically isn’t really a huge surprise in and of itself. It’s a trend which has been going on for a while now. TV By the Numbers tracks the cable news ratings on a daily basis and they don’t shift all that much in terms of the number one slot. On Monday of this week, for example, the total day ratings for the four major news networks on cable still showed Fox more than doubling their nearest competitor.
But if we dig beyond just cable news, the Trump effect for some of his appearances has been remarkable. And the continuing coverage of the primary has people tuning in far more than I’d expect to see during the summer of an odd numbered year. Looking at the other cable (non-news) outlets on a same-night basis during July, August and September, Fox actually beat out ESPN, who racked up a bit more than 1.7 million viewers across all demos. If you follow the industry at all that number should get your attention. Beating ESPN at anything is a herculean task.
But all of this attention hasn’t just been good for Trump or for Fox. We’re seeing an engaged electorate who have tuned in, turned on and gotten fired up very early in the cycle. With all of the momentous issues currently under debate that is most certainly a good thing. The more high information voters we have next year the better off the country is.