Cable Newsers, Like Their Broadcast Counterparts, Are Increasingly Having Issues Attracting Younger Demos In the Mornings

By A.J. Katz 

FNC’s Fox & Friends has been the No. 1 morning show on cable news for decades, and while Morning Joe seems to be gaining ground on the top dog, the Fox News morning show extended its lead during the month of February.

In February 2019, Fox & Friends was +9.5 percent in total viewers and +5 percent among adults 25-54 vs. what the show averaged the previous month. Morning Joe also posted month-to-month total audience growth (+2 percent), but lost traction among adults 25-54 (-5 percent).

CNN’s New Day has been in a bit of a ratings freefall since Chris Cuomo moved to prime time. The broadcast was -10.5 percent in total viewers and -12 percent in A25-54 viewers vs. the previous month (Jan. 2019).


Nielsen live-plus-same-day numbers for February 2019:

• Total Viewers:  1,507,000  1,219,000 553,000
• A25-54: 293,000   223,000 166,000




How about on a year-over-year basis? The results were mixed. Fox News was -6 percent in total viewers vs. what the show averaged in Feb. 2018.. CNN New Day was -9 percent in total viewers, year-over-year. Morning Joe, on the other hand, continues to post year-over-year growth. The broadcast was +15 percent in total viewers this past vs. what it averaged in Feb 2018.

What little Fox & Friends, Morning Joe and New Day have in common is that A25-54 viewers seem to be leaving (both cable and broadcast) more frequently. This trend isn’t exclusive to cable news morning shows. The trend is just as pronounced, if not moreso, among the broadcast morning shows. GMA, Today and CBS This Morning very rarely post year-over-year audience growth among younger demos.

What’s happening? It’s safe to say younger audiences are increasingly interested in getting their news in electronic form, from their phones, email newsletters, podcasts, etc. now that it exists, than they are in planting themselves in front of a TV screen for 2/3 hours at a time.

We’re seeing broadcast shows at least trying to bring their content to wherever the viewer (or in this case “fan”) may be. GMA launched a daily early morning newsletter last April, and Today posts plenty of clips online right after they air.

Will younger news consumers go back to their cable TV news in the mornings? Maybe in 2020, but doubtful. With that in mind, it’s really up to the cable news networks if they want to figure out other ways to reach a younger audience in the mornings, or if they’re just content with what they are and how they’re presenting the news.

Stay tuned!