Top news executives say an acute "Trump slump" is hitting media, especially digital and cable, Axios' Sara Fischer and Neal Rothschild report.
- Why it matters: The shock factor around President Trump's impulsive announcements, chaotic staff, taunting tweets and erratic behavior is wearing off, and media companies are scrambling to find their next big moneymaker.
Driving the news: Media executives say audience interest in political coverage overall is down, which is spurring investments in other beats, like technology and the global economy.
- Democrats don't appear to be the lifeline news organizations are hoping can fill the gap for diminished Trump interest. Executives expect this week’s debate ratings to be nothing like the ratings for the 2016 Trump debates.
- Be smart: 2020 Democrats don't have a knockout media star to drive interest. Dems' biggest media attraction has been Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who isn't running for president.
By the numbers: Digital demand for Trump-related content (number of article views compared to number of articles written) dropped 29% between the first six months of the Trump presidency and the most recent six months, according to data from traffic analytics company Parse.ly.
- Evidence that Trump's social media star power was also beginning to wear off surfaced last month, when Axios reported that his tweets were receiving less than half the engagement that they got when he first took office.
Similar trends are happening in more traditional media settings:
- In March, New York Times COO Meredith Kopit Levien told Axios during a panel at SXSW that the paper's subscription "Trump bump” ended in mid-2018.
- In December, media research firm MoffettNathanson found that live news network ratings were down "in the -10% to -20% range" in 2018.
- The firm found that ratings around TV news coverage overall began to decline after the 2016 election.
Our thought bubble: The Trump bump that buoyed the news industry through difficult economic times isn't sustainable, and media companies that were once reliant on politics coverage to get through tough times are going to have to pivot.