Tuesday, Bill O’Reilly discussed the NFL’s ratings decline and the Emmy Awards’ collapsing viewership.
“TV is done,” O’Reilly said on The First OTT service. “It is not coming back.”
O’Reilly crushed the Emmys, an annual event no longer of note. 10 years ago, with viewers urgent to watch, the award show drew 14 million viewers. Sunday, it drew just 6 million — hitting an all-time low for the second-straight year.
O’Reilly asks, “Does anyone care who won the Emmys? Do you know?” Before viewers could decide, he answered himself: “No, no, nobody cares.”
On the Emmys and entertainment industry, O’Reilly is correct. They are inching toward irrelevance. As for the NFL, he’s early.
The NFL is off to an ugly start with large year-over-year declines. But that’s not because the games are on TV. Just last year, professional football was up across all networks: Fox, CBS, NBC, and ESPN. Professional football doesn’t have a TV problem, it has a political problem.
As was the case in 2016, ratings are dropping as players kneel. When attention is off the game, and divisive, viewers tune out in millions. The concern: this time, alienated fans won’t return.
In addition, sports leagues have likely peaked.
Cable news is also taking away from sports. Monday night, A-level personalities trounced their 2019 ratings. Tucker Carlson drew 4.7 million viewers, which is an eye-popping 62% increase from the same day last year. Sean Hannity was up 27% with just another day at the office 4.3 million. Even Chris Fake Weights Cuomo’s 1.3 million increased 44%.
Cable news’ rise brings us to O’Reilly’s final point.
Per O’Reilly, regardless of who wins the election, “TV news industry will be done after the election.”
Cable news has never been more consumed than now. Sure, it may slow down once the election is over. But there is a long way to fall.
In August, five shows averaged over 3 million viewers a day. Hannity drew an unheard of 4.7 million. What’s more, election coverage only led top shows some days. Other episodes began with nationwide protests, racial topics, and updates on COVID-19. Unlike years past, the rise of political interest isn’t merely election-related.
In June, Fox News concluded its highest-rated quarter in network history in both total day and primetime. Q3 could be even higher.
CNN and MSNBC, too, were up substantially. Year-over-year, CNN saw 115% and 146% increases in total day and primetime, respectively.
Cable news is years away from, to use O’Reilly’s words, “done” territory. At some point, yes, digital media will slice away. There are fast-growing news podcasts: Ben Shapiro, Dan Bongino, Pod Save America, The Daily. In sports media, the transition is underway as talks show numbers are rapidly declining. However, news podcasts are not thriving in lieu of TV — yet.
Political news mediums last longer. Some media industries see talk-radio as archaic. Not political talk. Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, and Glenn Beck continue to speak to millions of listeners daily across America.
The Emmys are dead. Sitcoms are on life-support. The NFL should be alarmed. Cable news, for now, is safe.
By the way, that rant, vintage Bill O’Reilly.