Cable News Saw A Boon In 2016, Trump Effect?
While everyone is still in morning over the latest pop culture icon to pass away by cursing 2016, it wasn’t all that bad. 2016 will be the year remembered for a lot of unpleasant things but for the cable news organization, 2016 was a blessing.
Fox News and CNN both destroyed their all-time TV ratings and a lot of that came thanks to President-Elect Donald Trump. So considering the fact that Trump won, media execs have to be salivating over 4 years of someone who has done a pretty good job of manipulating the news cycle to keep things fresh—to say the least.
Per Politico, Fox News averaged 2.43 million viewers during primetime including 481,000 new viewers from the 25-54 demographic. That number wasn’t just good for Fox News, it was great. It was so great that Fox News was actually the number 5 overall TV network behind the big four (CBS, NBC, ABC and Fox). For a cable news network to jump up to one of the top 5 networks is a pretty big deal. It also helped that Trump was on multiple shows including Fox and Friends.
CNN ended up beating their 1995 mark by averaging 1.8 million viewers and making it the 8th watched cable network. MSNBC didn’t fare poorly either as it also got in on the steroid injected election. The network averaged 1.08 million in primetime.
However, if CNN and MSNBC were hoping that this would be the new norm, it ended up being the exact opposite. The Trump effect is a real thing as ratings for CNN and MSNBC plummeted after November 8th. To put it in perspective, CNN lost roughly 51 percent of the gains they made leading up to the election and MSNBC saw a 41 percent drop.
Fox News is still going strong and it’s the only network that only saw a minor drop at 8 percent. But considering that Trump is still friendly to the network where he had a weekly call in segment, which was usually positive, their numbers may not take a big hit going into 2017.
But this does bring up the question of what will happen during 2017 and beyond? The election may have been a steroid that fueled the ratings but what will each network do now? Also, Donald Trump has made it clear that he watches these networks and that could also have an impact on the ratings as he carries a lot of influence with his followers.