Newsmax TV has claimed its first ratings win over Fox News. The win—fueled by the disappointment of the election results—occurred Monday evening.
Newsmax out-rated its television competitor in the key 25-to-54-year-old demographic that is so heavily prized by advertisers. The “Greg Kelly Reports” on Newsmax edged out “The Story with Martha MacCallum” on Fox.
The margin was narrow, with Kelly averaging 229,000 viewers in the demo and MacCallum averaging 203,000, but it is still considered to be a milestone in the cable news industry.
Leading up to the presidential election, Newsmax was not considered to be a formidable competitor to Fox, having been dismissed as a second-class news outlet.
But President Trump’s loss on Nov. 3 changed the cable TV calculus. It was when Trump’s supporters began to challenge the results of the election that they turned their attention to a news outlet that backed their ideas. Newsmax—and Kelly in particular—was pushing the narrative that Trump had not actually lost and that there was still a possibility that certain issues could work out that would result in another four years of the Republican administration.
Fox News is still four times higher-rated than Newsmax at any given time of day, according to Nielsen. Among viewers of all ages, Fox averaged 1.36 million viewers around the clock on Monday, while Newsmax averaged 316,000 viewers. But Fox is now down from its pre-election highs, while Newsmax is way up. Take Kelly’s hours: Before the election, his show hardly had a hear beat. The 7 p.m. show barely reached 10,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo and 100,000 viewers overall, according to Nielsen data.
Now Kelly’s show has nearly a million viewers on a good night, and Monday was good: 949,000 viewers tuned in. Ruddy pointed out that Newsmax TV is also live-streamed on a variety of different platforms, so there is an additional audience that is not measured by Nielsen. In the 7 p.m. hour, Newsmax ranked third overall, behind CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront”, which reeled in 423,000 viewers in the demo on Monday, and MSNBC’s “The ReidOut,” which had 280,000.
The 25-54 demographic is widely considered to be critical because most advertising on cable news networks is bought and sold using demographic ratings. Newsmax seems to be cuting into Fox’s demo performance at some other times of day, though it’s hard to say for sure. At 4 p.m. on Monday, for example, “The Howie Carr Show” on Newsmax averaged 101,000 in the demo, while “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on Fox averaged 148,000 in the demo. Just one hour later, the gap between the two channels was much wider: “The Chris Salcedo Show” on Newsmax averaged 120,000, while Fox’s “The Five” attracted 303,000.
Fox Corp. chief financial officer Steve Tomsic addressed the competition at a financial conference earlier in the day Tuesday. He mentioned Newsmax and One America News by name.
“I think when people think about competition, they sort of, their knee-jerk reaction is to think, ‘well all we need is two or three talking heads to go head to head with ours.’ The business is much bigger than that,” Tomsic said, including news coverage and digital properties. He described Fox News as a business “that has stood the test of time, and every time there’s been skepticism about what the future looks like, we’ve pierced through and hit another high.”So,” he said, “we feel super-confident about Fox News being able to compete in any environment going forward.”