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Fox News celebrates 25 years since Rupert Murdoch’s vision debuted on air

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Fox News celebrates 25 years since Rupert Murdoch’s vision debuted on air

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Many were skeptical when Rupert Murdoch announced his vision for Fox News Channel a few months before it launched on October 7, 1996.

“I would just like to say how delighted I am that we have now reached this moment, and we can firmly announce the starting of a FOX News Channel and a much greater effort on the buildup of Fox News in every area,” Murdoch told the assembled media during a dimly lit press conference on January 30, 1996.

Rupert Murdoch announced his vision for Fox News Channel a few months before it launched in 1996.

Rupert Murdoch announced his vision for Fox News Channel a few months before it launched in 1996.

At the time, FOX had seen phenomenal growth in entertainment programming, children’s content and in sports offerings, but the company lacked a relevant news organization. CNN dominated cable news back then, largely because of a lack of competition, but Murdoch predicted that would change once Fox News Channel made its debut.

“We now see a fairly defined audience in numbers for CNN,” Murdoch said. “I think you will find as more news channels, and particularly our news channel, appear the audience will increase greatly.”

FOX NEWS CHANNEL WILL MARK 25TH ANNIVERSARY ATOP BASIC CABLE AFTER DOMINANT THIRD QUARTER

The move was both costly and risky and while Murdoch expected success, critics weren’t exactly confident the upstart network would work out. Reporters immediately asked Murdoch why he felt another news network would succeed, and others quickly predicted failure.

“Some in the industry believe that either MSNBC or the Fox all-news station will survive in the long run, but not both,” Reuters reporter Michael Connor wrote at the time.

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Some cable providers initially refused to even carry Fox News.

FOX NEWS CHANNEL CELEBRATES 25 YEARS ON THE AIR, UNVEILS RENOVATED WASHINGTON BUREAU

A quarter century later, it turns out Murdoch was onto something and Fox News Channel is on pace to finish as the No. 1 cable news network for the 20th straight year.

Fox News is also on pace to finish 2021 as the most-watched network across all of basic cable for the sixth straight year. Since Murdoch’s network started being rated on March 31, 1997, it has topped CNN by 68% among total viewers and 31% among the key news demographic of adults age 25-54.

MSNBC, which also launched in 1996, trailed Fox News viewership by a staggering 104% over the past 25 years among total viewers and 74% among the demo coveted by advertisers.

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During the primetime hours of 8-11 p.m., Fox News has outdrawn CNN by 86% and MSNBC by 110% since March 1997.

Fox News recently finished the third quarter as the most-watched network in all of basic cable among both total day and primetime viewers. It has now topped cable news for 79 straight quarters and often beats CNN and MSNBC combined in key measurables.

In recent years, Fox News has gained in popularity online, too.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Fox News has remained the most engaged news brand across social media channels for nearly seven straight years. Fox News Digital topped CNN in multiplatform minutes and multiplatform views during the month of July to finish as the No. 1 news brand, according to Comscore.

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