Fox News' aging audience could be a big problem
While it still has the most viewers in cable news, they're getting older than the demographic most advertisers target.
Fox News ended the second quarter of 2013 in a familiar place -- ranked No. 1 among cable news viewers for the 46th quarter in a row.
But that dominance was accompanied by an alarming demographic shift for the 21st Century Fox (FOXA) network as thousands of viewers younger than 54 changed the channel.
That may be giving some Fox News executives their own gray hairs. The network's median age has edged above 65 for six of the past eight years, The New York Times' Bill Carter reports. It's impossible to know exactly how old Fox News' audience is, because ratings company Nielsen doesn't provide an exact figure once viewers are older than 65.
At the same time, viewers in the 25-to-54 age group have been dwindling. The network shed 11% of its younger viewers in the second quarter.
That's a bad sign for any network, but it's especially worrying for a news channel, where advertisers buy programs based on the number of viewers who are 25 to 54. (Most entertainment channels use the slightly younger 18-49 demographic as a yardstick.)
"The numbers indicate they haven't been replacing the younger viewers," cable analyst Craig Moffett, who runs Moffett Research, told the Times.
Fox News' aging audience puts it in a rather undistinguished group of cable networks. Only two other channels have hit the over-65 age group: the game-show channel GSN and rural news network RFD.
What's unknown is whether the aging audience will put a dent in Fox News' ability to attract advertisers, but clearly a huge amount of money is at stake. "Median age is important. For some clients, getting old is a concern," Tracey Riener, an executive at ad-buying firm Havas Media, told the Times.
Age matters to advertisers for two reasons. First is the industry's belief that younger people are more open to marketing messages and more likely to change brands if a catchy commercial gets their attention. Second, certain advertisers target their messages for specific age groups, such as Unilever's (UL) Axe brand of deodorants, which aim at young men (and so it's unlikely to buy ad time on Fox News).
Fox News may be trying to lure new, younger viewers with some programming shifts, tapping Megyn Kelly, 42, for a prime-time role and hiring Elisabeth Hasselbeck, 36, for "Fox and Friends." Both are younger than Fox News' top hosts, such as Bill O'Reilly, who is 63, and Sean Hannity, 51.
Executives at Fox News are likely looking for the new blood to help revitalize their viewership. After all, it's not a good business practice if your audience is at risk of dying out.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
As GEN X ages, and becomes responsible for our families, the migration towards conservative in inevitable.
One can only get news from Comedy Central for so long before one finds life isn't a joke.
You are not entitled to Welfare; you are not entitled to Medicaid. You are not entitled to free legal care, an education, or a cell phone. Anything you get is a gift to you from those who pay your way through life and you should get down on your knees and be thankful. No one is entitled to something they did not earn. Welfare is to be a hand up, not a hand out. It is not meant to be forever, it is not meant to be a way of life. It is not a gift for, or to, your next generation. The world owes you nothing. I owe you nothing. This country owes you nothing except a return of what you have given; Nothing more. WHAT HAVE YOU GIVEN?
Wont get this on liberal media....
Since the author cited NO SOURCE for this article other than an aging NYTimes writer, and in fact just selectively copied his stuff for her *^#^, I checked the Nielsen ratings before commenting. If you do the same you will find the complete opposite of what she states.
MSN should be embarrassed to have her still on their staff, and I'm embarrassed to look at ANYTHING on MSN....no wonder they are getting their a** kicked.
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Reports say the generous benefactor behind the huge gratuities is a former PayPal executive.
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