Fox News is still positioned ahead of its competitors CNN and MSNBC in terms of ratings, and the network is not paying as much to keep its crown.
According to the Wall Street Journal, one upside to the mass exodus of on-air personalities and key executives that Fox News has endured lately has been a reduction in wages.
Tucker Carlson, who took over Bill O’Reilly’s timeslot after O’Reilly exited amid a sexual harassment scandal, hasn’t been able to match O’Reilly’s total audience numbers. But Carlson has been able to grow share among the 25-54 age demographic, which has helped him pull in 21% more per 30-second spot than his predecessor.
As the report points out, Carlson also makes “significantly” less than the $25 million per year O’Reilly was making.
According to Nielsen numbers, at the end of the second quarter Fox News led its competitors with an average of 472,000 25-54 primetime viewers. MSNBC was on its tail with 389,000 and CNN was averaging 370,000.
Of course, even prior to O’Reilly departing Fox News, reports of sexual misconduct against the conservative news pundit were having little effect on ratings. Although ad time was down for O’Reilly, Fox News in April still averaged 2.8 million viewers, making it the most watched cable network.
In addition to losing O’Reilly, Fox News last year also watched Megyn Kelly, one of its key on-air journalists, leave the network and sign a deal with NBC News. NBC is reportedly looking to capitalize on Kelly’s reputation and high profile.
According to Variety, the broadcaster is seeking an increase in CPMs (the cost for reaching 1,000 viewers) of around 30%. As the report points out, that rate is well ahead of the projected 8% to 9% CPM increases for prime-time broadcast ads this season.