DNC Viewership Down 24 Percent on First Night

The first night of the Democratic National Convention drew about a quarter fewer viewers across six major networks, as the country’s first virtual convention on Monday proved a tougher sell than the traditional live gathering in 2016, Bloomberg reports.

Nielsen released data Monday, showing that 19.7 million watched the first night across 10 networks. That compares to 26 million viewers for the first night in 2016.

Comcast Corp.’s MSNBC topped coverage with 5.1 million viewers from 10 p.m. to around 11:15 p.m. New York time, according to data supplied by the networks. Followed by 4.8 million for CNN, 2.4 million for ABC, 2.3 million for NBC, 2.1 million for Fox News and 2 million for CBS. CNN topped in the 25-54 demographic with 1.5 million, to 1 million for MSNBC, 676,000 for NBC, 650,000 for ABC, 438,000 for Fox News and 425,000 for CBS.

According to the Nielsen data, people 55 years and older numbered 14.1 million — down 8% from four years ago, while 35- to-54-year olds came in at 4.0 million — off 43% — and 18- to-34-year-olds came in at 1.1 million, dropping 54% from 2016.

The convention which was moved online due to the coronavirus, began with urgent calls from Democrats to push President Donald Trump out of office. There were music videos and speeches from former first lady Michelle Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders.

According to Bloomberg, the Nielsen figures don’t include online streaming viewership through the convention’s website and elsewhere. While the first night of the convention did worse than four years ago on TV, the Biden campaign said streaming numbers were way up.

CNN said it had 73,000 live-stream viewers on its online platforms in an average minute from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., up 28% from 2016.

About Catherine Smith

Catherine Smith is a newcomer to Washington D.C. She met, and married an American journalist and moved to D.C from the U.K. She graduated with a B.A in Graphic, Media and Communications and worked in design and retail in the U.K.

Photo: Getty Images

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