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Fox Business Continues To Lag Behind In Ratings

Ad Week‘s D.M. Levine delves into the latest set of numbers from Fox Business Network, and finds that the channel continues to struggle. Overall in October, FBN averaged 65,000 total viewers, but only 10,000 viewers in the adults 25-54 demo. “Imus in the Morning” drew more total viewers, 90,000 than many other shows, but only 5,000 of those viewers were 25-54. The 4-8 PM hours were the strongest for the channel, but even they were relatively unimpressive compared to the competition.

Fox Business Network executive vice president Kevin Magee is trying to put a positive spin on the numbers, saying things aren’t as bad as they seem. “I always want better ratings than I have,” he told Adweek. “[But] the trend is up for us.” Magee pointed out that the network’s ratings are “significantly up from October a year ago—up 38 percent year to year.” As for the network’s ratings compared to its competition, Magee downplayed the importance of target demographic ratings altogether, saying, “I would respectfully tell you that the actual makeup of our audience is pretty terrific. We have the most affluent audience in basic cable. We’ve got people with money, and we attract some very, very high-end advertisers.”

What Magee fails to mention is that CNBC attracts many of those same advertisers, and more. Both CNBC and FBN have complained about Nielsen, and note that it does not count out-of-home viewing, where many influential people are likely watching their respective channels. Both would likely see a substantial ratings boost if out of home were measured.

Last month, Magee sent FBN staffers a memo reminding them that they are a business network, and to stop the focus on politics. Whether that memo leads to any major changes remains to be seen. On a positive note, FBN is no longer losing money, as we reported in August. But “not losing money” is a far cry from the standing CNBC has, as the second-most profitable channel NBCUniversal owns.

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