Cable TV ratings are very, very low right now as the networks try to rope in more of the coveted 25-54 group. Even Fox News is suffering, compared to the ratings that it's used to.
Both CNN and MSNBC would still gladly welcome the numbers Fox News racks up, of course, but compared to its own history, Fox continues to experience steady losses among viewers under 55 years old. The total day average for the channel in that 25-54 category was 177,000 viewers.
Bill O'Reilly has been Fox News' heavyweight champion when it comes to the ratings and he's not shy telling you about it, but he always leaves out an important fact about those ratings.
Bill O’Reilly, Fox’s biggest star, also had his lowest month since 2001 among that audience, with an average of 313,000 viewers. That did not reflect his overall popularity, or his huge total audience of 2.1 million. But much of that audience is over 55 years old.
The median age for Mr. O’Reilly’s audience reached a new high, 72.1. And less than 15 percent of his audience fell within the 25-54 group. (He still dwarfs his news competition in terms of numbers: CNN averaged 145,000 viewers in that hour among the 25-54 year old audience, and MSNBC just 127,000.)
BillO continually scores high among the olds in America. They are pretty reliable when it comes to voting, but not much else.
I have a friend in NYC whose mom is in the Bill O'Reilly demographic and is very well off. She keeps Fox News on 24/7 (even on Saturday nights) and I asked her why she did that? "To get my frustrations out," was her reply. I asked her what she could possibly be so frustrated about with her wonderful family and bountiful existence. "You'd be surprised," she told me.
That's the Fox Effect. It causes resentment even in people who have everything in the world they could ever want and the life that most of us only dream about.
On the whole, Fox News on average is six years older than the rest of cable TV news.
The audience for news is generally among the oldest in television. Fox News tends to skew older than its rivals. The median age for MSNBC in May was 62.5. For CNN it was 62.8. For Fox News it was 68.8.
Even Megyn Kelly, Roger Ailes new late night star can't seem to bring anything but the O'Reilly demographic:
Megyn Kelly, now the 9 o’clock host for Fox News, also had a big overall audience of 1.8 million; but her total of 260,000 in the advertiser-preferred group was also Fox’s lowest in 13 years. (Her audience’s median age also edged up above 70 at 71.7.)
Roger Ailes' plan to populate Fox News with pretty blondes in short skirts has not attracted the coveted 25-54 demographic he hoped for. It's certainly keeping the olds tuned in at a high pace, though.