TV Ratings: Fox News Beats Out Competition to Be Most-Watched Cable News Network in August

by Jennifer Shea
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Fox News was the most-watched cable network in August, once again beating out its cable news competition, and also other cable networks.

Fox netted 2.47 million viewers during primetime, Deadline reports. No. 2 was MSNBC, with 1.23 million viewers. CNN had only 819,000 viewers.

Audiences declined across the board compared to last year, when presidential elections and the political conventions in August drove up interest in cable news. On Fox, viewership was down 32% from last year. MSNBC’s was down 44%, and CNN’s was down 51%.

Fox was also responsible for the five most-watched shows on cable news. Topping the list was “Tucker Carlson Tonight” with 3.3 million viewers. Next was “The Five” with 3.11 million, “Hannity” with 3 million, “The Ingraham Angle” with 2.39 million and “Special Report with Bret Baier” with 2.19 million.

In the 25-54 demographic, the same five shows led the pack. “The Rachel Maddow Show” dropped out of the top five in August (possibly because Maddow went on vacation for part of the month).

CNN, MSNBC Saw Trust Declines in 2021

Fox News has gained more trust over the course of 2021, while CNN and MSNBC have seen declines in trust, research conducted by Brand Keys for MediaPost showed.

The network’s trust ranking went from 86% in February to 89% by August. CNN saw the steepest drop of the nine media brands ranked by trust, plummeting from 92% earlier this year to 87% this August. MSNBC dropped from 93% in February to 90% in August.

Brand Keys surveyed 3,975 respondents from nine U.S. Census areas. Those surveyed said they watched the brands in question at least three times a week. Brand Keys President Robert Passikoff said in a statement that trust ratings correlate with viewership, which explains why Fox has been surging as CNN and MSNBC have slumped following the presidential election last year.

Fox News Also Leading the Pack in Advertising Revenue

According to data compiled by the Pew Research Center, all three major cable networks saw their advertising revenue increase from 2019 to 2020. But Fox’s advertising revenue, which had reached $1,189,900,000 by last year, outstripped CNN’s – at $628,300,000 – and MSNBC’s – at $676,800,000 – by far.

Fox was also No. 1 in terms of its annual revenue. It made $2.9 billion to CNN’s $1.7 billion and MSNBC’s $1.1 billion last year.

Perhaps not surprisingly, then, Fox’s total annual profit also shot way past CNN’s and MSNBC’s. Fox’s profits reached $1,795,500,000 last year. CNN was at $714,700,000, and MSNBC was at $575,300,000.

Fox also spends more on its newsrooms than CNN and MSNBC, but in 2020 it cut newsroom spending by 4%. That still put it above CNN and MSNBC, where expenses stayed relatively flat.

Outsider.com