While Ad Spending Crashed For Most News Media During Pandemic, Fox News Rallied 41%

At a time when Americans arguably are more dependent on U.S. news outlets for accurate information about the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy and the election, most major news outlets have been severely impacted by a decline in advertising revenues caused by the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That's the finding of a Pew Research Center analysis of advertising revenues reported for the major U.S. print, broadcast and cable TV news outlets for the second quarter of 2020, the period when the U.S. ad recession accelerated.



With the exception of Fox News Channel, which saw ad revenues soar 41%, ad sales for the other major cable news networks plummeted. And while the major broadcast network news programs experienced an 11% gain, local TV and newspaper advertising sales crashed.

"Newspaper companies have been hit especially hard," the report says, noting: "Among the six publicly traded newspaper companies studied – major chains that own over 300 daily papers – advertising revenue fell by a median of 42% year over year (i.e., comparing the second quarter of 2020 with the second quarter of 2019)."

And while overall cable news network ad revenues rose, it was due entirely to gains by Fox News Channel, which experienced a 41% rise, while CNN and MSNBC fell 14% and 27%, respectively.

"In other words, with many people subject to stay-at-home orders in the spring, Americans were watching cable TV news in greater numbers," the Pew analysts wrote, noting, "but this did not lead to greater revenues across the board – which could be due to a number of factors."

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