Before smart phones became so handy, news networks like CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News were where the masses turned to for news coverage. These few stations dominated the television screens of most homes in America. But now that the TV is no longer the main screen in town, neither are news networks.
It’s not that viewership has been terrible for news organizations. According to Nielsen data for Q2 2017, Fox News averaged 1,420,000 total day viewers, MSNBC averaged 886,000, and CNN averaged 788,000 total day viewers; numbers that have been fairly consistent over the past couple decades. But in today’s world, 1.2 million views means nothing when clips of a cat playing the piano are accumulating tens of millions. And when the average age of a networks prime time audience is 68 (like Fox News), it’s time to shake things up and attract the eye balls of a new generation.
There are news driven YouTube Pages that have millions of subscribers; millions of people who receive a notification whenever a video is posted; millions who are committed to staying loyal; millions of people who didn’t accidentally leave the program on.
Below are three YouTube pages that have more subscribers than the CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News have viewers on an average night.
- Phillip Defranco — 5,615,000 YouTube Subscribers
Defranco hosts and runs the “Philip DeFranco Show!” A Monday-Thursday show that covers domestic and international news. And is, by its own description, “a show that prides itself on exposing fake news, properly investigating, researching and explaining all sides/arguments” before making an opinion to start a discussion. Defranco’s videos run any where from 4 minutes to 20 minutes in length and can generate anywhere from 200,000 to 4.7 million views in a short amount of time. The YouTube star is also in the works of building out the existing channels to create more content (not necessarily news driven) and use that as a launching pad for a news network.
2. The Young Turks- 3,395,000 YouTube Subscribers
The Young Turks, created and co-hosted by Cenk Uygur, is a news driven YouTube channel with better production value than the all too common “I’m sitting behind a computer at home” YouTube video. The channel posts more than 10 videos a day that bring in anywhere from 70,000–600,000 views. One of the channels more recent videos was of Uygur Debating DailyWire’s Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro. The video gained over 500,000 views in a short amount of time.
3. The Alex Jones Channel — 2,000,000 subscribers
In the past, the name Alex Jones was indistinguishable from the term conspiracy theorist. But recently, the short-fused libertarian is reaching more viewers than the average news network. Jones has gained such a following that, in an attempt to boost ratings, MSNBC’s Megan Kelly had him on her news program for an interview. The Alex Jones Channel has also been host to the President of The United States, who has been on the show several times. The channel posts upwards of 10 videos a day, each which can receive anywhere from 100,000–500,000 views.
Are News Networks Done?
News networks aren’t out of the game yet. Their numbers, though low, have been increasing. For example, from Q1 2016 to Q2 2017 Fox’s Prime time viewership shot up more than 30%, and CNN just had its most watched second quarter on record. But these numbers won’t save them from the reality that their audience is aging out of this world. For Example, despite CNN’s high performing quarter, the company only averaged 262,000 viewers between the ages of 25–54. Even during prime time when the company averaged over 1 million viewers, only about 300,000 of them were 25–54 years old.
Efforts to connect with the younger generation have been made by most of these organizations. In fact, CNN recently invested $40 million into its digital studio geared towards reaching a younger audience, “Great Big Story,” and the network has a YouTube Page with over 2 million subscribers. But the big difference between CNN’s YouTube Page and the YouTube Pages mentioned above are the views and engagement. CNN’s Daily videos usually accumulate anywhere from 700–200,000 each, while 19 hours ago Phillip Defranco just posted a video and, as of now, it already has over 1 million views.