Fox News reclaimed the top spot among cable news channels for the second quarter of 2008, having been beaten by CNN during the first quarter. However, Fox shouldn't rest easy, reports Jaques Steinberg of the New York Times, because its rivals are are closing in:
But the back-and-forth these last few months masks a more ominous trend for Fox News, particularly as its gears up to cover the general election campaign. The most dominant cable news channel for nearly a decade and a political force in its own right, Fox has seen its once formidable advantage over CNN erode in this presidential election year, as both CNN and MSNBC have added viewers at far more dramatic rates...
... While Fox News remains the most-watched cable news channel over all -- it has been attracting an average of nearly 2 million viewers each weeknight this year, compared to 1.3 million for CNN and 805,000 for MSNBC -- its momentum has effectively stalled, at least when measured over years past. The overall prime-time audiences watching CNN and MSNBC, by contrast, have each grown by more than 50 percent this year, when measured against the same period last year, while Fox's has increased by 10 percent, according to Nielsen. (The New York Times and NBC News, the parent of MSNBC, share some resources in covering political news.)
Read the full report here.