Thursday, November 19, 2020

Newsmax Cuts into Fox’s Viewership

Now that his largely invisible network has suddenly been flooded by fans of President Donald Trump, Newsmax television personality Grant Stinchfield is puffing out his chest, reports The Associated Press.

“They don’t know what to do with all of us,” Stinchfield said on the air Monday night. “We’re killing it here on Newsmax with a tactic they’ve never tried. It’s called the truth, the stone-cold truth, and once you get a taste of it, you will never tolerate being lied to again.”

Newsmax’s burst, whether or not it lasts, has been astonishingly swift and could foreshadow significant competition to Fox News Channel’s dominance with conservative viewers in two decades.

“We’ve really cornered Fox from the right,” said Chris Ruddy, Newsmax founder and friend of Trump. “They’ve never had that.”

From the beginning of July to the week before Election Day, Newsmax averaged 58,000 viewers from 7 to 10 p.m. on weekdays. That jumped to 568,000 the week after the election, the Nielsen company said. In the same period, daytime viewership increased from 46,000 to 450,000.

For the same dates, Fox News averaged 3.6 million viewers in the evening, Nielsen said. Fox’s prime-time viewership during the two weeks after the election was up 50 percent over last year.

“We love competition. We have always thrived on competition,” Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch said on an Election Day earnings call.

Ruddy traced much of Newsmax’s increase to Trump supporters angered by Fox’s election night call that Democrat Joe Biden had won Arizona — ahead of any other news organization. While that call proved correct, for the president’s backers it was an ill-timed sign of insufficient loyalty from their favorite network.

Trump, who criticized Fox throughout the campaign, has driven the point home with repeated tweets suggesting his followers check out Newsmax or a smaller rival that also presses a conservative viewpoint, One America News Network.

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While some disgruntled FNC viewers will take off to watch competing conservative channels such as One America News or Newsmax. Some may never come back. But those options have been around for a while and, to date, have remained niche outlets, according to Jeffrey M. McCall, an Opinion Contributor for The Hill.

FOX News Channel  still has a role to play in the news landscape, even when Trump leaves the White House. McCall adds, "If lax mainstream media coverage of the Biden campaign is any indication, coverage of a presumed Biden administration will likely be just as casual. Look for FNC to establish itself as the main scrutinizer of Biden and his expected leftward-lurch initiatives on taxes, climate, health care and international diplomacy. In short, Fox News will still be Fox News. Viewers who are now telling FNC, 'What have you done for me lately?' might still find time to watch.

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