It’s been six months since Newsmax TV CEO Chris Ruddy said his network would “probably overtake [Fox News] in the next six months in total audience.” That didn’t happen, but a spokesperson tells TheWrap it’s still “inevitable.”
Ruddy made his prediction to Newsweek at a time when Fox News was capping the highest-rated year in cable news history, but then-president Donald Trump was railing against the behemoth network for not falling in line enough as he falsely claimed he, not now-President Joe Biden, won the 2020 election.
Trump was directing his followers to defect from Fox News in favor of Newsmax or One America News. Months on, Fox News remains the top-rated cable news channel.
Here’s how total-day ratings looked for the two networks — which both feature conservative opinion shows, though Fox News also has straight-news programming — this January: Newsmax averaged 239,000 total viewers in January, according to Nielsen Media Research ratings data. Of those, 55,000 were in the advertiser-coveted age demographic of 25 to 54. Fox News, meanwhile, averaged 1.359 million total viewers, with 242,000 in the demo. (Ratings are down across the board for every cable news network, especially after the pandemic and election in 2020 and the deadly Capitol riot, Trump’s second impeachment and Biden’s inauguration in January.)
Year to date, Fox News has seen a slight total-day viewership decline of 15%, averaging 1.152 million total viewers. In that same time period, Newsmax has had a 56% decline, averaging 106,000 total viewers. In the demo, Fox News fell 20% year to date, averaging 193,000, while Newsmax dropped 71%, averaging 16,000.
So, no, Newsmax did not overtake Fox News in total audience in the past half year.
A spokesperson for Newsmax told TheWrap, “The numbers show Fox News is seriously declining in ratings and cable subscribers, while Newsmax grows strong on both cable and OTT, making it just a matter of time before the inevitable happens.”
A look at Comscore numbers from May, the most recent available month, tells a different story where those digital offerings are concerned. While Fox News’ app pulled in more than 7.1 million unique users, Newsmax’s app had about 2.1 million unique visitors, which was down 5% from April.