Younger television viewers continue to abandon Fox News in droves. In February, Fox is down another 29% with viewers age 25-54 in primetime.
While total viewership numbers remained flat for Fox News, their problem with younger viewers got worse in February. Compared to February 2012, Fox News has lost 29% of their age 25-54 viewers in primetime. Bill O’Reilly’s viewership is down 3% overall, and 29% with viewers age 25-54. Sean Hannity’s total viewership is down 11% in total, and 35% with viewers age 25-54. Greta Van Susteren’s total viewership is down 21%, and 32% with viewers age 25-54.
In comparison, MSNBC is down 3% total in primetime, and they are flat with viewers age 25-54. Ed Schultz is down 14% in total viewers, and 10% with viewers age 25-54. Rachel Maddow is down 6% in total viewers, and 5% with viewers age 25-54. Lawrence O’Donnell is down 7% in total viewers, and 12% with viewers age 25-54.
Fox News still continues to post wide overall viewership leads, but those numbers are deceiving. Senior citizens are powering Fox. The network has the oldest audience on all of television. The average age of a Fox News viewer is 66 years old and the decline in younger viewership is the biggest long term threat to the network’s survival.
Younger viewers who don’t watch Fox News are less likely to become older voters who do watch Fox News. February 2013 has been a down month across cable news compared to the same month in 2012, but MSNBC was able to keep their viewers age 25-54. The biggest age 25-54 viewership decline at MSNBC was Lawrence O’Donnell’s 12%. This is less than half of the smallest decline (O’Reilly’s 29%) on Fox.
Younger people aren’t voting Republican and they aren’t watching Fox News.
In the long term Fox execs have to figure out some way to get non-senior citizens to watch or the network’s viewership will literally die off. Fox News either has to attract younger viewers, or hope that advancements in medical science push the average life expectancy to 90.
MSNBC is already the top rated cable news network with African Americans. As the demographics of America change, MSNBC is poised to grow.
It isn’t going to happen today or tomorrow, but Fox News could be facing extinction if they don’t stop the demographic bleeding.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor, who is White House Press Pool, and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association