FOX News Down Half a Million Prime Time Viewers Since Firing Top Host Bill O’Reilly
Guest post by Joe Hoft
FOX News cable set the all-time record for viewers for any news cable service in the first Quarter of 2017. According to its own press release:
FOX News Channel (FNC) finished the first quarter of 2017 with the highest-rated quarter ever in cable news history in 24-hour viewership, and once again topped cable in both primetime and total day according to Nielsen Media Research. Each hour during the 6AM-11PM/ET program lineup broke a network record with the highest-rated hours ever for a quarter with millennials tuning in to FOX News more than any other cable news outlet. Furthermore, The O’Reilly Factor not only had its highest-rated quarter ever in history, but it broke all previous records in cable news history for the highest-viewership ever for any given program in a quarter.
FNC completed 1Q’17 as the top basic cable network in both primetime and total day and marked 61 quarters as the top news network in primetime and total day, according to Nielsen. In both dayparts during 1Q’17, FNC was up double-digits compared to the same quarter last year, which included two of the network’s highly-viewed Republican presidential primary debates. Additionally, more millennials chose FNC as their leading cable news source over CNN and MSNBC in both primetime and total day than ever before (see below for Nielsen data).
Delivering its most-watched quarter ever in total day viewers, FNC averaged 1.7 million viewers (up 27% ) and 359,000 (up 32% ) in the 25-54 demo. In primetime, FNC marked its second highest-rated quarter with 2.8 million total viewers (up 20% ) and 576,000 (up 19% ) in the 25-54 demo. For the quarter, FNC dominated cable news competition in both primetime and total day combined in total viewers.
The daily per hour average viewers is reasonably less than the average viewers in the prime time hours which is why the daily totals are less than prime time totals.
In April FOX News again was number one on cable TV:
FNC once again topped all of basic cable in total day audience for the 10th consecutive month. The network also finished No. 1 in total prime time viewers for the 3rd straight month, and has now been cable news’s No. 1 network in total audience for 184 consecutive months.
In April FOX News had 2,441,000 total viewers / 488,000 A25-54 per day in the prime time hours and 1,498,000 total viewers / 325,000 A25-54 per day.
The decrease in viewers from the first quarter to April for FOX News was 1.7 million less 1.5 million for a difference of (200,000) viewers less in April than in the first quarter. in prime time viewers the difference was (400,000) (2.8 million less 2.4 million).
The website Adweek provides a list of daily ratings for Cable News. Using this data, the average total viewers for the month of May as of the 24th is an average rate of 1.624 for daily totals and 2.322 for average prime time viewers. Although the average daily viewers appears to have stabilized for FOX News cable, the prime time viewers continues to decline another 100,000 (2.4 million in April less 2.3 million in May). In total FOX News is down a half a million viewers in prime time since the end of March.
The cause for the decline in viewership in large part is because FOX News fired Bill O’Reilly who had the largest show on cable tv. In the first Quarter of 2017:
The O’Reilly Factor not only had its highest-rated quarter ever in history, but it broke all previous records in cable news history for the highest-viewership ever for any given program in a quarter.
As FOX Cable News continues to put on the air NeverTrumpers and others who berate President Trump expect its corner of the cable news market to erode. God only knows that there is a huge untouched market in America of President Trump supporters who would love to be able to turn on a cable news network without hearing liberals berate the President. If some news source ever discovers this, they will make millions.