Fox News Outfoxes Competition

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Bad news for Fox bashers (I know, I used to be one of them), the race for ratings is hardly a close one. From Reuters:

Hot on the heels of its beating the broadcast networks in coverage of the Republican National Convention, Fox News Channel has added another feather to its cap: It averaged more primetime viewers than its competitors combined in the third quarter.

Fox News Channel averaged 1.75 million viewers in primetime during the third quarter, up 39% from the nonconvention year of 2003, according to data released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.

Its competitors -- CNN, CNN Headline News, MSNBC and CNBC -- averaged an aggregate 1.67 million viewers in the third quarter, which ended Monday. It was Fox News Channel's highest-rated quarter since the Iraq war began last year.

Fox News Channel captured nine of the top 10 programs in cable news along with all of the top five. "The O'Reilly Factor" led the pack with an average 2.4 million viewers. "Hannity & Colmes" and "On the Record" both showed double-digit growth.

CNN averaged 882,000 viewers in primetime, up 19% from the same period last year. CNN Headline News averaged 226,000 viewers in primetime, up 17%, and CNBC averaged 133,000 viewers, down 13%.

MSNBC grew 55% in primetime to an average 421,000 viewers, thanks not only to the conventions and hurricanes but also the "halo effect" that carrying the Olympics had for MSNBC.

Fox News got this week off to a strong start thanks to the first installment of a three-part interview with President Bush (news - web sites), which has boosted "O'Reilly" to its best ratings of the year. Monday's edition of the show averaged 4.6 million viewers, according to data released Tuesday by Nielsen Media Research.
Besting CNN, CNN Headline News, MSNBC and CNBC combined? Where are all these conservatives coming from to boost Fox's ratings? Perhaps the "fair-and-balanced" network is actually watched by the middle of the road and Democrats tired of sleeping through Larry King? Just a thought.