It was a busy time for the news this year, from starting out the year with almost going to war with Iran, then impeachment, COVID-19, and the nationwide rioting and looting, all with an election in the backdrop. The Fox News Channel came out on top in both total day and primetime viewership for the news-filled year.
According to Nielsen Media Research, the Fox News Channel averaged 3.6 million viewers during primetime throughout 2020, up 45 percent from last year, and 645,000 viewers in the 25-54 age demographic, which is up 65 percent.
This marks the first time in cable news history that a network surpassed 3 million viewers in primetime for an entire year. The network also finished the year as the most-watched network in basic cable for the fifth consecutive year in both primetime and total day among total viewers and the first time Fox News also finished number one in all of cable in total day with the younger A25-54 demo.
Notably, "Hannity" was the number one program in cable news for the fourth consecutive year in total viewers with 4.4 million total viewers and also averaged 788,000 in the 25-54 demo. "Tucker Carlson Tonight" ended the year as the most-watched cable news program for the 25-54 demo and was second to "Hannity" in terms of viewers, having 798,000 viewers in the 25-54 age demo and 4.3 million total viewers.
The Fox Business Network also saw its highest-rated year in the network's history across total day and business day dayparts. All key network dayparts saw double-digit audience growth across the board compared to 2019. The Fox Business Network's day programming delivered an average of 236,000 total viewers.
As for what 2021 brings, it's up to anyone's guess what the ratings hold for Fox News as the backlash from their coverage of the 2020 election still has some choosing to turn off the channel. Other networks such as One America News and Newsmax saw gains in the aftermath of the election, but Fox News has remained confident in its standing with their audience.
“We don’t take lightly the potential for competition, whether it’s the existing sort of classic MSNBC or CNN or the sort of emerging ones like Newsmax and OAN,” Fox Corp. CFO Steve Tomsic said at a recent investors conference, according to The Hill.
"We think we've got a business that has stood the test of time, and every time there's been skepticism about what the future looks like, we’ve pierced through and hit another high," Tomsic added. "So we feel super confident about Fox News being able to compete in any environment going forward."