The boycott of Laura Ingraham's Fox News show, which was initiated by Parkland, Florida, high school senior David Hogg and orchestrated by Media Matters, has led to remarkable ratings growth for the conservative talker's primetime show.
New data released Monday revealed Ingraham’s nightly ratings have skyrocketed since the boycott began nearly three weeks ago.
What are the details?
According to cable TV ratings data, Ingraham’s ratings have shot up more than 20 percent since Hogg initiated the boycott on March 29.
In late March, Ingraham averaged just 2.23 million viewers. But when the Fox host returned from a weeklong Easter vacation last week, her nightly ratings climbed to an average of nearly 2.7 million viewers, Newsbusters reported.
The ratings allowed Ingraham to maintain the top spot in her time slot, besting Lawrence O'Donnell at MSNBC and Don Lemon at CNN.
The boycott led to more than a dozen companies removing their advertisements from Ingraham’s show in the span of just two days. According to TheWrap, 27 companies have now joined the boycott, despite Ingraham’s success.
Maybe it's the strong ratings, or maybe it's just loyalty, but at least one company — Ace Hardware — has returned to advertising on Ingraham's program, while another advertiser, MyPillow, has doubled down on its support.
How did Ingraham respond to the news?
On Twitter, she posted:
THANK YOU: Boomerang! Since Left's Boycott Began, Ingraham Viewership Up 20% https://t.co/ak6d4j0Qxm— Laura Ingraham (@Laura Ingraham)1523909653.0
How did Media Matters respond?
Angelo Carusone, the president of Media Matters, wrote on Twitter that Ingraham's ratings success in the wake of the boycott "don't mean a damn thing" because she lost so many advertisers.
Boom! Viewers don't mean a damn thing if you lost more than 50% of your ads. https://t.co/P7WqNKuMjL— Angelo Carusone (@Angelo Carusone)1523917326.0
The writer's perspective
Contrary to what Carusone believes, Ingraham's ratings dominance in her time slot matters very much. In the news business, views and clicks matter — that is the business model, after all.
Undoubtedly, revenue for Ingraham's show has dropped and will remain lower than normal for the near future. But that drop will likely be only temporary. Months from now, many of the companies that dropped Ingraham will have returned to advertising on her show because the decision to withdraw was PR-based, not based on guiding principles.
So when the noise dies down enough, those companies will return to the mouth that feeds them — the millions of loyal Americans who watch Ingraham every night.
And fortunately for Ingraham, Hogg and Media Matters brought a spotlight to her and her show. With that comes great responsibility, but with it also comes new companies who want to do business — and even more revenue.