Fox News gave GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump at least $29.7 million in free airtime from May 2015 through the end of the year.
According to a previous Media Matters analysis, Trump far outpaced the other Republican presidential candidates in Fox News interview airtime in the second half of 2015. From May through December 15, Trump appeared on the network for nearly 23 hours -- no other candidate had more than 10 hours on the network during that time period.
For this study, we updated Trump's airtime totals through the end of 2015, which brought his time on the network to well over 24 hours for the year. Using this platform, including partaking in several-hour long interviews which were subsequently re-broadcast, Trump was able to benefit from at least $29.7 million in free airtime on the network and broadcast his message to a total audience of 306,104,725, according to media monitoring service IQ Media.
IQ Media uses Nielsen data to determine the viewership of a given program and price data for advertising from Sqad to come up with an equivalent advertising rate. The total audience number does not represent unique viewers but the total aggregate viewership number -- including viewers who likely watched the same programs on multiple days -- during the study period.
Trump himself has boasted about needing to spend very little on advertising because of the nearly constant coverage Fox News and other networks have given him. While Trump released a campaign ad earlier this month -- which has garnered millions more in free airtime through media coverage -- as of December, Trump and his allies had spent significantly less on TV ads compared to several other candidates and the groups supporting them.
Media Matters used IQ Media to ascertain the viewership and monetary value of Donald Trump's appearances on Fox News Channel from May 1, 2015- December 31, 2015 between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. The study includes all original appearances and repeat appearances were counted if they aired on a new day. Appearances during early morning post-debate specials were counted.
Due to a technical glitch in IQ Media's software, Donald Trump's appearance on Fox and Friends on December 22, 2015 was not included in the study data. His appearance as part of Fox News' New Year's Eve celebration was also not included. Previous Media Matters studies have used a different program to calculate television dollar value.