NEWS AND OPINION:
Fox News Channel was the top network across the entire cable realm for the month of May, according to Nielsen Media Research — besting the most popular non-news competition like TNT, ESPN and HGTV. In real time, Fox News has enjoyed the most total daytime viewers on cable for 23 months, or almost two years.
But the network is in it for the long march. Fox News continues to best rivals MSNBC and CNN as the most-watched cable news channel among daytime and prime time viewers for 197 consecutive months. Translated, that is almost 16 years — or close to 6,000 days. That is a staggering amount of time to fill 24/7 — but fill it they do, and in ways that win loyalty, and transforms the network into a daily destination for millions.
Audience numbers tell the story.
In the daytime, Fox News averages 1.4 million viewers, compared to 914,000 for MSNBC and 655,000 for CNN. In the all-important prime-time hours, Fox News garners 2.4 million, compared to 1.7 million for MSNBC and CNN’s 835,000.
Overall, Fox News claimed 10 of the top 15 cable news programs on the airwaves, with “Hannity” leading the way with 3.3 million viewers, followed by MSNBC’s “Rachel Maddow Show” (2.6 million), “Tucker Carlson Tonight” (2.6 million), “The Ingraham Angle” (2.6 million) and “The Five” (2.2 million) and “Special Report with Bret Baier” (2.1 million).
The network has garnered some handsome press with its latest victory. Among the headlines: “Fox News steamrolls cable news competition with big win” (Forbes); “Hannity-led Fox News dominates cable news rivals” (Mediaite.com); “Fox dominates May’s top cable news shows” (The Hill); “CNN ratings: prime-time audience collapses 25 percent in May” (Breitbart News).
Things are rosy over at the Fox Business Network as well, which is now marking a year as the No. 1 business news network in the nation according to Nielsen ratings numbers, with a 13 percent advantage over rival CNBC. “Lou Dobbs Tonight” has been the leading program on business television for the last two years, while “Varney & Co” continues its reign as the top stock market analysis program across all basic cable. Additionally, the network notched the top-four rated news programs on business television in total viewers.
ABC’S BIG ‘ROSEANNE’ BILL
“The abrupt cancellation of ‘Roseanne’ will not come cheap. Although the decision was widely viewed as necessary given the racist nature of star Roseanne Barr‘s social media attack on senior Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett, several sources with knowledge of the situation suggest that ABC and parent company Disney could be on the hook for tens of millions of dollars,” reports Lacey Rose, television editor for The Hollywood Reporter.
“And that doesn’t include the foregone ad revenue,” she notes, citing an industry report for Kantar Media revealing that the revival of the 1990s-era sitcom was expected to drive some $60 million in advertising dollars.
Ms. Rose also said that her sources say that ABC producers won’t be able to invoke the “force majeure clause,” which allows them to cancel contracts due to unforeseen, catastrophic events.
“ABC brass will have to make some tough choices about whether and how to compensate the cast and crew for the scrapped 13 episodes,” Ms. Rose says, adding that the major stars of the canceled show were to be paid between $350,000 and $500,000 per episode.
Writers and crew members are another matter that have yet to be addressed.
SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM FLOURISHES
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce reported Wednesday that optimism among small business owners rose for the second quarter this year: 68 percent of owners feel confident about the economy and the future of their companies.
The Small Business Index — based on an analysis of multiple factors and trends — reached 68.7 percent, “meaning 68.7 percent of small business owners have a positive outlook for their companies and the environment in which they operate,” the report said. This number is up 2.4 percent from the first four months of the year, and the largest margin on record.
The Chamber report also found that the majority of small business owners expect increased revenue and to increase their hiring. More than three-fourths of them feel comfortable with their cash flow, while two-thirds of women-owned businesses are expecting higher earnings over the next year. The percentage who rated their local economic health as “good” increased to 48 percent, tied for the strongest mark in the history of the index.
A TIMELY FORUM
A single negative tweet brought down an entire TV show despite it’s No. 1 ratings and media buzz. Everyone has talked about the fate of “Roseanne” this week. Now comes a different take.
“Will Social Media save Democracy?” a Cato Institute forum asks on Thursday.
It’s complicated and rife with potential political and cultural influences. Let’s hope it doesn’t turn into a blame game.
“Many critics think social media poses a novel threat to liberal democracy. Seeking to divide Americans, agents of the Russian government bought ads on Facebook. Extreme speech also finds a home on the internet, fostering conflicts that appear to generate more heat than light. Governments and consumers worry about ‘fake news’ designed to misinform readers for fun, profit, and power. And yet social media has made more information more widely available at less cost than any technology since the printing press. Less reliant on gatekeepers than traditional media, the new purveyors of news arguably better satisfy the diverse preferences of the American electorate,” the institute states.
On hand to chat: Alexandra Woodward, digital organizing director for Organizing for Action; Ned Ryun, founder and CEO of American Majority; George Hawley, author of “Making Sense of the Alt-Right”; and Katie Harbath, director of global politics and government outreach for Facebook. The event is moderated by Andrew Marantz, a contributing editor for The New Yorker. Yes, C-SPAN will carry the event live at noon EDT.
POLL DU JOUR
• 83 percent of Portuguese adults “identify as Christians.”
• 80 percent of Austrian, Italian and Irish adults also are Christians.
• 77 percent of Finnish, 75 percent of Swiss and 73 percent of British adults are Christians.
• 71 percent of German, 66 percent of Spanish, 65 percent of Danish and 64 percent of French adults are Christians.
• 55 percent of Belgian, 52 percent of Swedish, 51 percent of Norwegian and 41 percent of Dutch adults are Christians.
Source: A Pew Research Center survey of 24,000 adults in 15 nations, polling from 1,500-2,200 respondents in each, conducted April 1-Aug. 31, 2017, and released Tuesday.
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