And now some news about the news. FOX News saw their ratings drop by 3% for the second straight year. This is not good news for FOX and the Republicans. According to the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism’s The State of the Media 2012 report- viewership for all cable news was up 1% in both daytime and primetime.
CNN saw their ratings go up by 16% and MSNBC’s went up by 3%. It should be noted that the rise in CNN ratings had more to do with the fact that they are trusted for outright news more than MSNBC or FOX. Without breaking news like the disasters in Japan and the Arab Spring, CNN would be in third place.
The loss in viewership may be why FOX has been insisting on higher licensing fees from carriers. Those carriers that have FOX have to charge almost eighty cents more a month because of those fees. It makes FOX more profitable even though they have continued to lose viewers.
According to Politics USA:
Even if you never watch Fox News, as long as it is carried by your cable or satellite system, you are still adding to Rupert Murdoch’s fortune. If people really want to stop Fox News, they need to be pushing Congress to pass a la cart legislation that will allow viewers to pick and choose the networks that they want to pay for instead of being forced to subsidize channels that they can’t stand.
FOX News will continue to lose viewers. Their average audience is 65, but younger people are not replacing the older viewers. The internet is also one of the biggest problems as cable/satellite customers cancel their service in the next five years. A lot of people are realizing that they can get their shows on the internet for less than they pay for cable. That said, as paywalls and other fees continue, the Credit Suisse’s findings of 25% of subscribers who plan to cancel their cable or satellite may not pan out. Still, any cancellations might hurt FOX more than the other two.
Part of the big problem for FOX is also that being hard right is no longer paying off as well as it use to, and Roger Ailes is trying to change directions to the middle, but their core audience is still far right.
Politics USA also notes that:
There are only 1.9 million daily Fox News viewers, but Fox News is available in 102 million homes. This means that 100 million American households are subsidizing the right wing hate of Fox News. If the American people ever wake up and realize that they are paying for a network that many of them disagree with, and demand to be given the ability to financially support only the channels that they watch, the future of Fox News will be in doubt.