In the aftermath of its Bill O’Reilly crisis, Fox News Channel fell to its lowest consumer perception level in nearly 10 years, making MSNBC the leader in the cable news category, followed by CNN.
What is unusual about Fox News Channel’s descent is how long it took to reach a statistically significant threshold since the New York Times broke its $13 million sexual harassment suit settlements story on April 1st. The network’s perception score declined throughout the past month – while many advertisers pulled out, and Bill O’Reilly suddenly departed for vacation, subsequently fired, and replaced—but not until this past weekend did it cross the statistically significant marker. In the past few days, their score dropped at a steeper pace.
Compare this to recent crises such as United Airlines and Samsung resulted in almost instant historical sharp drops in consumer perception.
Possible reasons for Fox News Channel’s unusually long perception descent may be the slow public acceptance of O’Reilly’s accusers and the cumulative effects of advertisers withdrawing from the program.
It is worth noting that of the 59 broadcast and cable networks that YouGov BrandIndex tracks (out of more than 1,500 brands), Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC have the lowest perception scores in the industry. All three of them attract more negative feedback than positive, with Fox News Channel leading at 13% more.
YouGov BrandIndex measured the consumer perception of CNN, Fox News Channel, and MSNBC with its Buzz score, which asks respondents: "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?"
Buzz: Fox News Channel, CNN, MSNBC