Politics

Newsmax Plans Expansion To Capitalize On Trump Support, Anger At Fox News

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LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Newsmax, a conservative cable news channel promoted by President Donald Trump, plans to expand in the United States and Britain, Chief Executive Chris Ruddy told Reuters.

The network plans to hire more staff in the United States and London, debut a new primetime host and add more weekend programming to capitalize on post-election gains and some viewers’ discontent with Rupert Murdoch’s longtime ratings king Fox News.

Aided by shout-outs from Trump on Twitter, Newsmax’s weekly primetime viewership has jumped 68% since the U. S. presidential election as the channel refused to declare Joe Biden the winner and aired debunked theories about voter fraud.

Early evening host Greg Kelly on Monday averaged 229,000 viewers ages 25 to 54, the group most coveted by cable news advertisers, for the first time beating Fox’s Martha MacCallum, who brought in 203,000 viewers in that age range at that hour.

MacCallum, however, won in overall viewers, and reclaimed her lead in both categories on Tuesday, suggesting the Newsmax gains may be fragile. Some key audience metrics have slipped from Newsmax’s post-election peaks. Primetime viewership for the week that ended Dec. 4 was down 21% from two weeks earlier, averaging 391,000 viewers, while its total day audience fell 19%.

Fox News, which also has declined from election-week highs, still averaged 2.9 million primetime viewers that week, a sign of its strength after almost 19 years as the most-watched cable news channel.

The network had its highest-rated November in history, drawing 3.9 million primetime viewers, beating all cable networks, not just cable news. Primetime host Tucker Carlson averaged 5 million viewers for a second straight month, a record for cable television.

Ruddy noted that, despite some dips, Newsmax is hovering high above pre-election levels.

He sees the 40 million viewers not on cable as the next battleground for growth. In addition to cable news, the network streams for free on platforms including YouTube and a Newsmax app, which Ruddy said roughly doubles the nighttime audience.

“People are really tired of Fox News,” Ruddy said in a recent interview. “There is a perception that they really tried to torpedo the president.”

Trump has complained about its coverage of his presidency. The network further irked the president and some viewers on election night with a projection that Biden had won Arizona — nine days before most major news organizations confirmed that win.

“Newsmax, I think, has been gaining ground against Fox News because it’s been able to convince some fraction of Fox’s audience that it is more loyal to the president than Fox is,” said Matt Gert… (Read more)

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