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FOX (FOXA) News Tops Q1 Ratings Despite Drop in Audiences Y/Y

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Fox Corporation (FOXA - Free Report) owned Fox News Channel finished the first quarter of 2023 in first place, beating both its cable news competition and every other network in basic cable and hitting the 85th consecutive quarter at #1 in prime time.

During the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m., Fox News averaged 2.09 million viewers, down 18% year over year, followed by MSNBC with 1.11 million, down 8% and Warner Bros. Discovery’s (WBD - Free Report) CNN with 568K, down 34%.

Among viewers 25-54, the key demographic most valued by advertisers, Fox was number one in prime with an average audience of 259K viewers, down 40% year over year, followed by CNN (124K viewers, down 47%) and MSNBC (111K viewers, down 26%).

In a total day, Fox News averaged 1.36 million viewers, down 15%, followed by MSNBC with 703K, down 1% and CNN with 478K, which declined 27%. In the 25-54 demo, Fox News averaged 174K, down 38%, followed by CNN with 94K, down 40% and MSNBC with 78K, down 9%.

Fox News Channel’s The Five took the title as the most-watched show in all of cable news for the quarter, with an average total audience of 3.256 million viewers, followed by Tucker Carlson Tonight (3.246 million viewers), Jesse Watters Primetime (2.781 million viewers), Hannity (2.585 million viewers) and Special Report with Bret Baier (2.349 million viewers) – all airing on Fox.

According to live-plus-same-day data from Nielsen, the 13 most watched cable news shows of the quarter were all Fox News shows for the second consecutive quarter.

Fox's Business Network Outpaces Competitors

Fox Business Network (FBN) outpaced Comcast’s (CMCSA - Free Report) CNBC for 12 consecutive months in business day and 10 consecutive months in market hours with total viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Notably, FBN was the only business network to post year-over-year growth across the board, up 2% in business day viewers and 4% in market hour viewers (207,000) year over year. Furthermore, the network’s total day (6 AM-6 AM/ET) viewership averaged 130,000 total viewers, up 5% year over year.

FBN ended the first quarter of the year, sweeping its competition and delivering eight of the top 10 cable news programs with affluent audiences among the 25-54 demo. Varney & Co. ranked first ($147,700), followed by Making Money ($146,400). Wall Street Journal at Large ($142,200), The Claman Countdown ($142,000) and CAVUTO: Coast to Coast ($141,700) placed fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively. The Big Money Show ($134,600), Kudlow ($133,100) and Maria Bartiromo’s Wall Street ($131,100) rounded out the top 10 programs.

With 290,000 total viewers, Kudlow once again closed out the quarter as the highest-rated business news program on television, netting a 58% advantage over its CNBC competition. FBN’s three-hour market open show Varney & Co. hosted by Stuart Varney earned 280,000 total viewers, placing second among business programs in television.

How Will Fox Survive Cord Cutting?

Fox, which currently has Zacks Rank #3 (Hold), has been facing threats from the ongoing cord cutting due to the advent of streaming platforms. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Shares of Fox have gained 7.9% in the year-to-date period compared with the Zacks Consumer Discretionary sector’s increase of 8.8% in the same time frame.

The company is acknowledging the threat and taking steps to counter it by making its channels available on streaming platforms like Sling TV, Hulu TV and Fubo TV.

Fox Corporation withdrew the proposal to merge Fox and News Corporation (NWSA - Free Report) , claiming that the tie up was not expected to be optimal for shareholders. News Corp, home of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, Dow Jones, Australian pay TV giant Foxtel and digital assets are setting its sights on the sale of a business.

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