Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch believes the ratings hit that Fox News took after the November election is turning around and will continue to over the next four years while they play the role of the "loyal opposition" during Joe Biden's presidency.
"Going forward, if history is any lesson, the main beneficiary of the Trump administration, from a ratings points of view, was MSNBC," Murdoch said Thursday at the (virtual) 2021 Morgan Stanley's Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference. "MSNBC had the biggest lift, relative to where it was before to its peers, throughout the Trump administration. We think that that's because they're the loyal opposition. They called out the president when he needed to be called out. That's what our job is now with the Biden administration, and you'll see our ratings really improve from here and will do so for at least the next four years."
In January 2021, Fox News was down double digits in both total-day and primetime ratings. During a Feb. 9 earnings call, Murdoch compared the 13% drop in ratings Fox News saw following Biden taking over for Donald Trump as POTUS to CNN being -17% and MSNBC -10% after the 2016 presidential election, which Trump won over Hillary Clinton.
Murdoch said Thursday that Fox is "No. 1 again in primetime [viewers] and were sort of neck and neck with MSNBC in total-day viewers," after recovering from the drop-off it expected to see after Trump lost the 2020 presidential election to Biden.
"Just while our audience was disappointed with the election results and taking a pause and we started to see that deep," Murdoch said. "We saw our competitors in MSNBC and CNN have these big spikes with those news cycles. Well now we've seen, and as we projected, those spikes have now come back down to Earth. I think CNN, last week, had its worst share since the week before the election. And that happens with CNN a lot, what happens is that they still have a tremendous news brand and news viewers come to CNN that aren't traditional news viewers, when there's a big news story. So you can see that, particularly around the Washington, D.C. riots happened to be this big spike. That's come back down to earth."