The media business—by nature—is in constant turmoil. With so many comers and goers, short-lived fads, and new industry-shattering technologies, it’s remarkable that one thing has stayed constant for over a decade. Fox News (FOXA) is marking its 50th consecutive quarter as the top cable news network, according to data from Nielsen (NLSN). This goes all the way back to 2002, when the media and political worlds were completely different.
As the number of prime-time broadcast TV viewers has gone down, the number tuning into cable news has gone up. Fox has benefited. Its ratings have increased while those of its cable competitors, as a group, have mostly stayed flat. That’s a sign that the growth hasn’t come from other news networks but from viewers who had not previously been watching cable news. Nielsen’s data shows that the only other cable network to be No. 1 in its category for 50 straight quarters is, unsurprisingly, ESPN (DIS).