In January 2021, Fox News ratings fell behind CNN and MSNBC
In prime time, Fox News first became the top-rated cable news network in january 2002, just a few months after the terrorist attacks of September 11. For nearly two decades, regardless of the news cycle, Fox News has remained the top-rated cable news every month. Often doubling or tripling the audience of competing news networks CNN and MSNBC. In January 2021, this streak ended.
Fox News’s audience strength came from their politically conservative opinion shows and the personalities of their prime-time hosts. While, on CNN, ratings can fluctuate on a daily basis, depending on the breaking news (v. On the other hand, Fox News has created a personality-driven dating visualization. Every night millions of viewers turned in. connected to The postman with Bill O’Reilly and The Kelly file with Megyn Kelly among others, whatever the news cycle. The programming strategy was similar to that of personality and opinion-driven radio talk show hosts such as Rush Limbaugh, who generated millions of listeners every day.
In other words, Fox News has become a destination channel, which has notably developed with the emergence of Donald Trump in the political landscape. For the 2020 calendar year, in prime time, with Trump running for re-election, as well as the pandemic and social justice rallies, Fox News set a prime-time cable network audience record. listening with an average of 3.6 million viewers per night, a year-over-year increase of 43%. The other major news networks also recorded record audience rates during prime time; MSNBC ranked second among all cables with an average of 2.14 million viewers, an increase of 23%. CNN finished third with an average of 1.79 million viewers, with an 83% increase year-over-year, the most of any network.
Even more impressive, with many entertainment programs paused and live sports closed, Fox News between Memorial Day and Labor Day was the highest-rated broadcast and cable network on average. 3.5 million the viewers. A first for any wired network.
The most popular program on Fox News was Hannity (MF 9-10 p.m. ET), in 2020, it was the top-rated cable news show for the fourth in a row year, with an average of 4.38 million viewers. Tucker Carlson tonight (MF 8 pm-9pm ET) ranked second with an average of 4.36 million viewers. Ingraham’s Angle (MF 10-23 p.m. ET) was fourth (behind The five also on Fox News) among all cable news shows, averaging 3.53 million viewers.
Fox News has been the highest-rated prime-time cable network since July 2016, when, no coincidence, Donald Trump became the Republican presidential candidate. December 2020 marked the 54th consecutive month of being the highest rated cable network. The streak ended the following month. In addition, the streak as the most watched cable information network has also ended. As of January 2021, CNN was the top-rated cable news network and prime-time cable network. MSNBC also averaged more viewers in January 2021 than Fox News. The last time Fox News ranked third among prime-time cable news networks for an entire month was in September 1999.
Source: Nielsen, M-Sun 8 pm-11pm; People 2+, Live + Same day
Additionally, in January 2021, for the whole day (T-Sun 6 a.m. to 6 a.m.), Fox News with an average audience of 1.3 million viewers, lagged behind CNN with 1.9 million viewers. viewers and MSNBC with 1.6 million viewers. The last time Fox News ranked third in total viewership for a full month, it was april 2020.
On the most interesting two days of January 2021, the Fox News audience lagged behind its cable news rivals. On the day of the U.S. Capitol Uprising, Jan.6, 2021, CNN led all cable news networks with an average of 5.9 million viewers (the most-watched day ever. ), MSNBC averages 4.5 million viewers. Fox News attracted an average of 3.4 million viewers. Fox News also finished third from the public the following two days.
At Opening day (January 20), Fox News averaged 2.2 million viewers for its daytime coverage (11 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET) and 2.7 million for President Joe Biden’s speech. Four years earlier, when President Donald Trump was inaugurated, Fox News averaged 8.8 million viewers for the day and 11.8 million for the inaugural address. By comparison, CNN’s five-hour daytime coverage of Biden’s inauguration averaged 7.9 million viewers and MSNBC averaged 5.3 million viewers. During Biden’s inaugural address, CNN averaged 10 million viewers and MSNBC averaged 6.5 million.
Besides the incessant cycle of news, another reason for Fox News’s declining audience was Donald Trump. On election night, Fox News (correctly) said Biden won Arizona, ahead of other news outlets, angering Donald Trump. Throughout his presidency, Trump has supported Fox News on Twitter. After election day, however, Trump urged his Twitter followers to watch cable-right rivals Newsmax or OAN instead of Fox News. After a first rising odds, Newsmax audience has not increased substantially since election day (OAN is not measured by Nielsen).
Conversely, CNN has benefited from a constant flow of breaking news that has always been its strength. As of November, this has included endless election results, lawsuits over election results, Georgia Senate run-off, insurgency, Donald Trump’s second impeachment, President Biden’s inauguration as incoming president, outgoing president and the ongoing pandemic. Since Election Day 2020, CNN has recorded six of its ten biggest public during its 40-year history. MSNBC has also benefited from the same endless cycle of news. In January, The Rachel Maddow Show (MF 9 p.m.-10 p.m. ET), was the highest-rated cable news program with a record audience average of 4.3 million despite the face-to-face competition with Hannity.
Fox News makes some lineup changes, network replaced Martha MacCallum’s schedule The story at 7 p.m., with a fourth hour of opinion programming more compatible with its top-rated prime-time programming. Fox News also made changes to the schedule with its daytime programming effective in mid-January, including moving MacCallum to 3 p.m.
In 2021 and after the elections, there are questions for each network. Can CNN maintain its ratings as the news cycle eventually slows? Plus, what’s the future of CNN chairman Jeff Zucker, who is rumored to be stepping down? MSNBC, with a new network, President Rashida Jones, will it be able to sustain its audience without Donald Trump in the White House? Can Fox News return to audience dominance as Trump’s news cycle slows and his Twitter suspension permanently? Will Fox News continue to modify its programming in the face of competition from other right-wing networks?
In the last week of January, Fox News returned as the top-rated news network on average during prime time. 2.6 million Viewers, while CNN and MSNBC posted audience declines after the inauguration, nonetheless, ratings as the top-rated news network have been the most competitive in nearly two decades. After years of stable ratings, listening to news on cable may very well change.