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Average Age of FOX News Viewer: 65

Today Gawker posted a rundown of the average viewer age of cable television. The demographic, unsurprisingly, skews old:

Average age of a Fox News viewer: 65 [CNN: 63; MSNBC: 59]

Average age of a CBS viewer: 55 [ABC: 51; NBC: 49; Fox: 44]

Average age of a CBS viewer ten years ago: 52 [ABC: 43; NBC: 45; Fox was only 35]

Young people, of course, are more progressive than older generations, which is likely why FOX News’ demographic skews so old. But MSNBC’s viewership, isn’t that much younger, even though it tends to feature more liberal programming like the Rachel Maddow Show.

The fact that young people aren’t watching much TV isn’t that surprising. More young people are spending more of their time online. Research from Pew suggests that young people are the most online generation. Though young people are spending less of their time blogging, 28 percent in 2008 versus 15 percent of young adults in 2009, but young people are far more engaged in social media than older generations. Pew research shows that nearly three quarters of young adults (72 percent) use social media.

The fact that sites like Hulu and Netflix are expanding their subscriber base continuously suggests that consumers of visual media are moving more to an on-demand online model rather than tuning in to the nightly news.

But while FOX might be experiencing ratings success right now by catering to an older, more reliable audience, it stands to reason that the network might be concerned about its long-term strategy. Otherwise it could age itself out of existence.

Kay Steiger is the editor of CampusProgress.org.

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