Same As It Ever Was: Fox News Wins 50th-Straight Ratings Quarter, But All Channels Down

Ho hum, another quarter, another Fox News Channel win in the ratings against its all-news competitors, MSNBCCNN and HLN. The win is now the 50th straight quarter (and 150th straight month) for Fox, going back more than a dozen years. They’ve been so consistently ahead for so long that another win, even a landmark like this, seems a bit of a yawner for the cable news powerhouse as it transforms into the Rolling Rock of ratings kings. So, how did they win this time ’round? Let us count the ways:

  • FNC was sixth in Primetime total viewers among all cable networks (CNN was 34th, MSNBC 29th).
  • FNC was seventh in Total Day viewers among all cable nets (CNN was 29th, MSNBC 30th).
  • For the quarter ending today, FNC had the top 14 highest-rated news shows in total viewers. It had nine of the top 10 news shows for the core Adults 25-54 demo, with only re-runs of CNBC’s Shark Tank on MSNBC sneaking into the tenth spot.
  • Total viewers for the Top 5 shows were: The O’Reilly Factor (2,361,000); The Kelly File (1,998,000); The Five (1,842,000); Special Report w/ Bret Baier (1,730,000); and On the Record w/ Greta Van Susteren (1,496,000).
  • FNC led all cable networks in that 25-54 demo, which is the heart and crabby commentariat of the news-watching audience.
  • Both Fox & Friends and Your World with Neil Cavuto have been No. 1 in their respective slots for 50 consecutive quarters, again dating back more than 12 years to the first quarter of 2002.
  • FNC has more Total Day viewers, 945,000, than its three competitors combined (924,000); In Primetime 8pm to 11pm (ET) total audience, Fox far outstrips its competition (1.602M viewers versus their combined 1.377M).

There is some less good news for Fox though, as it remains top blackbird in a shrinking pie of viewers. All four nets mostly saw declines compared to the same quarter in 2013, many of them by quite substantial amounts, and only MSNBC recorded anything during the period that looked like growth. According to Nielsen, over the quarter, all four nets were down 16 to 35 percent (CNN had the biggest drop) for Total Day; 16 to 31 percent for Primetime 8pm to 11pm;  and 16 to 40 percent for Primetime 7pm to 11pm. MSNBC did score modestly in June, with an 18 percent jump in its Primetime 7pm to 11pm audience (the 8pm to 11pm slice was flat for MSNBC). At that rate, it will only be another 50 quarters before MSNBC catches up with FNC.