The channel scored its biggest ratings success ever on Tuesday night during the Republican National Convention -- beating out not only all of its cable news competitors but, for the first time, all its broadcast competitors as well. But where is its advertising victory?
Fox earned 5.2 million viewers on Tuesday night, beating NBC's 5.14 million, with ABC and CBS further behind. (An interesting side note is that MSNBC - the long-time, last-place cable news network - actually took second place in the cable competition with 1.61 million viewers, beating out CNN's 1.55 million.)
While most of the press has lauded Fox News for making a historic goal in terms of ratings, of more interest is how the network scored in the only real measure that matters -money. Specifically, advertising revenues.
Fox News - which has been the No. 1-rated cable news network for some time -- is still far behind other cable news channels when it comes to advertising dollars, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR.
In 2003, CNN posted $424 million. MSNBC, the lowest-rated cable news competitor, was next at $162 million. Then came Fox News with $112 million. Court TV and TV Land also did better than Fox News. But wait, Fox News landed just ahead of Animal Planet's $96 million. Woof, woof.
Still, the big election year is now just being counted -- and maybe Fox News will have a good story to tell.
But here's the disconnect. Fox by all accounts is a conservative news network with strong Republican leanings, fronted by lead news face, Bill O'Reilly. You can credit Republican viewers watching the Republican National Convention for Fox's big victory.
Speaking strictly in financial terms that only traditional big business Republicans with a fondness for Halliburton would understand, where's the money?
Did the Democrats take that race too?
After decades of large, billion-dollar federal budget deficits -- mostly via Republican administrations -- it took a Democrat president, Bill Clinton, to beat the Republicans at their own financial game, wiping the budget deficit away. Now with the Iraq war, President Bush has brought back real Republican financial consistency - even bigger budget deficits.
Maybe that's where Fox News can find its missing advertising dollars.