Fox News Channel continues to dominate over the other cable news networks. Its combination of brand differentiation, strong personalities, and fair and balanced reporting have helped Fox dominate over other news networks.
The Fox News Channel began in 1996 as an option to other networks (CNN and MSNBC) for news coverage. Fox adopted a slogan of "fair and balanced" in order to separate itself from the liberal-leaning competition. Americans slowly, but steadily, turned to the network for their news. In 2002, Fox surpassed the competition to become the number one cable news network.
That support has not changed since, as Fox News Channel has been the dominant cable news network for close to 140 months. The latest Nielsen ratings for cable news show how much Fox dominates the competition. During the last quarter, the total-day average of viewers for Fox was 1.18 million. The corresponding numbers for CNN (476,000), HLN (393,000), and MSNBC (361,000), were not close to Fox.
So how is Fox able to dominate the competition? There are three main reasons for the dominance and continued success. Those reasons include brand differentiation, strong personalities, and a focus on being fair and balanced.
Fox employed a unique brand differentiation strategy. While CNN and MSNBC were providing news coverage, Fox wanted to provide different approach to the news. President Clinton was in office at the time, and the media was liberal in their voting and reporting. Fox offered an alternative to the liberal media. The network wanted to give viewers a different approach to news coverage that appealed to some Americans.
The network also hired strong and well-educated personalities that would appeal to Americans. Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity provided conservative commentary in addition to the news. They continue to dominate their respective time slots.
Fox also maintained a focus on being fair and balanced to their reporting of the news. While some argue the network has a conservative bias, Fox has been focused more on news than MSNBC, which offers more commentary. Fox News programs also have counterpoints from individuals with opposing views. This enables viewers to hear arguments for and against the commentary of the host.
Studies and articles have shown that the media leans to the left. Fox provides an opportunity for viewers to hear different viewpoints without the worry that the news is slanted to the left. This has helped Fox succeed and will continue to drive Fox’s rating higher.