Donald Trump’s mastery over the media is so acute that when he boycotted the Fox News Republican debate on January 28, Fox was the one that suffered.
The debate had the second smallest audience of the seven primary debates and only around half of what Fox scored with its first debate in August.
Trump had boasted that the event would be a “total disaster” when he withdrew after a spat with a Fox news anchor called Megan Kelly.
That wasn’t entirely true. It was still the most watched program on prime time, according to Nielsen data.
But it did suffer from Trump’s absence. Janet Guyon, former editor-in-chief of TheStreet, has said in an op-ed on Quartz that lower ratings will likely translate to lower revenue for Fox.
She said that when she was at TheStreet.com, she noticed Trump would spike in Google searches, even when stories about him contained nothing new.
“Traffic to stories about Trump, even if they contained no substantive new information or a comment from the candidate himself, was running some 10 times higher than that of any other candidate,” Guyon said.
Gunyon pointed out that if a website earns $20 for a thousand page views, it can make $20,000 on the page views of a story about Trump, compared to $2000 on a story about other candidates.
The story generates more page views, which menas that it also appears higher in Google's search rankings, and gets clicked on even more.
Donald Trump's most controversial quotes
Donald Trump's most controversial quotes
1/14 On Isis:
"Some of the candidates, they went in and didn’t know the air conditioner didn’t work and sweated like dogs, and they didn’t know the room was too big because they didn’t have anybody there. How are they going to beat ISIS?"
2/14 On immigration:
"I will build a great wall — and nobody builds walls better than me, believe me —and I’ll build them very inexpensively. I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words."
3/14 On Free Trade:
"Free trade is terrible. Free trade can be wonderful if you have smart people. But we have stupid people."
PAUL J. RICHARDS | AFP | Getty Images
4/14 On Mexicans:
"When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re sending people that have lots of problems. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists."
5/14 On China:
"I just sold an apartment for $15 million to somebody from China. Am I supposed to dislike them?... I love China. The biggest bank in the world is from China. You know where their United States headquarters is located? In this building, in Trump Tower."
6/14 On work:
"If you're interested in 'balancing' work and pleasure, stop trying to balance them. Instead make your work more pleasurable."
7/14 On success:
"What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate."
8/14 On life:
"Everything in life is luck."
9/14 On ambition:
"You have to think anyway, so why not think big?"
10/14 On his opponents:
"Bush is totally in favour of Common Core. I don't see how he can possibly get the nomination. He's weak on immigration. He's in favour of Common Core. How the hell can you vote for this guy? You just can't do it."
11/14 On Obamacare:
"You have to be hit by a tractor, literally, a tractor, to use it, because the deductibles are so high. It's virtually useless. And remember the $5 billion web site?... I have so many web sites, I have them all over the place. I hire people, they do a web site. It costs me $3."
12/14 On Barack Obama:
"Obama is going to be out playing golf. He might be on one of my courses. I would invite him. I have the best courses in the world. I have one right next to the White House."
13/14 On himself:
"Love him or hate him, Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred. Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money."
14/14 On America:
"The American Dream is dead. But if I get elected president I will bring it back bigger and better and stronger than ever before and we will make America great again."
It’s part of a cycle whereby news outlets write more about Trump because they make more money out of Trump, but they make more money out of Trump because more people are writing about him.
Trump laid out his media strategy nearly 30 years ago in his 1987 business memoir, Trump: The Art of the Deal.
But it is perfectly suited to the present.
These are excerpts from Trump's "The Art of the Deal," pub.1987. Feels like an appropriate time to share pic.twitter.com/wwWSobKGze— Sage Boggs (@sageboggs) December 8, 2015
“One thing I've learned about the press is that they're always hungry for a good story, and the more sensational the better … If you are a little different, or a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you,” he wrote.
The press might be hungry for a good story, but most digital outlets are hungrier still for traffic.