Q3 2016 Ratings: Fox News Is Most-Watched Cable Network

By A.J. Katz 

It was a controversy-filled summer for Fox News Channel, but that didn’t deter viewers from flocking to the network. Fox News was the most-watched basic cable network for Q3 2016, both in prime time and across total day. Not only did the network beat all cable news and entertainment competition in total audience, but FNC improved 25 percent in prime time, and by 29 percent in total day vs. the 3rd quarter of 2015. The network also delivered year-over-year improvement in the key A25-54 demo, up 50 percent in prime time and up 31 percent in total day. Averaging 1.41 million viewers every day for the last three months, made this the most-watched quarter ever for the 20-year-old network.

The ratings for Q3, 2016 (Nielsen Live + Same Day data):

  • Prime time (Mon-Sun): 2,437,000 total viewers / 459,000 A25-54
  • Total Day (Mon-Sun): 1,410,000 total viewers /276,000 A25-54

Fox News’ year-over-year improvement was given a boost by campaign 2016 which, in the last three months, included the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Fox News beat CNN and MSNBC in total viewers across the 8 nights of 2016 convention coverage, and delivered a 5 percent improvement in total prime time viewers compared to its convention 2012 coverage.

The O’Reilly Factor remained the No. 1 cable news program for the quarter in total viewers, while The Kelly File finished No. 1 in the A25-54 demo. Hannity won the news demo for September, likely helped by consistent appearances from GOP nominee Donald Trump.

Additionally, every Fox News program improved by double-digits in both viewers and the demo compared to the same quarter last year, and multiple programs delivered their most-watched quarters ever in viewers including America’s Newsroom, Happening Now, Shepard Smith Reporting, The Five, The Kelly File, Hannity, MediaBuzz and Justice with Judge Jeanine.