If you’ve been following the news lately you’ll know a couple of things. First you’ll know that quite a few companies have been dealing with corporate scandals. And second you’ll know that Bill O’Reilly is out at FOX news.
This isn’t the first scandal of this flavor we’ve seen out of FOX, a case involving head Roger Ailes drew a similar amount of attention almost a year ago. But O’Reilly is different. The longtime ratings king is gone, and the number one cable show in the country is off the air. No send off, no goodbye, just gone.
And it matters not what your views on FOX, Ailes, or O’Reilly are. The point here isn’t to argue their alleged actions or what took place that led to the firing of Bill O’Reilly. But this scandal, and the ones prior raise serious questions about the number one cable network. And it is the number one network, make no mistakes about it. For years FOX has dominated over almost every other network. You could put together the ratings of MSNBC and CNN and they still wouldn’t even equal the numbers FOX puts up. And those numbers come from PEW Research Centers.
But certainly that has to be on the decline. Megan Kelly left for NBC, and Bill O’Reilly is collecting his multi-million dollar unemployment check. So how does FOX stay relevant? And are they a victim of their own success?
Think about all of the news companies that were created or came about because of the popularity of FOX. You have TheBlaze, founded by former FOX employee Glen Beck, OANN, The Drudge Report, CRTV, Conservative Review, the list goes on. And all of those networks and websites are all vying for the same audience. The same people who generally want the same information. But they aren’t going to look multiple places to get it.
FOX is in trouble, and they need to look inside their own giant media company for ways to improve, reshape, and maybe even rebrand the product that millions of Americans watch every day. FOX works and relies very heavily on personality driven news, a style that for a long time has worked for them. But it now seems to be almost a disadvantage.
If FOX wants to retain and fix their problems there emphasis will have to return to news stories and an emphasis on their reporting. Personality based news sells well, and it has worked incredibly well for FOX. However, if they hope to return to their previous form, and fix the brand image it might be best to lay off of the personalities for a little while.
Stories on O’Reilly aren’t going away anytime soon. And FOX needs to be prepared for that by looking to the next generation of journalists who are going to shape the world. The same can be said for NBC, CNN and others who all seem to lack a vision for the world we now live in. The audience is changing, the people are changing and the news has to change too. And whoever gets this notion first, whether it be FOX, NBC, CNN or any other mainstream outlet, they’ll win the media ratings war.