In Depth

Record 38 Million Watched Obama Speech on 10 Networks

Sen. Barack Obama’s historic speech Thursday, accepting the presidential nomination during the Democratic National Convention, brought in 38 million viewers across 10 networks, setting a convention record.

Last night’s speech bested its closest competitor, day four of the 1992 DNC, by more than 10 million viewers, according to Nielsen Media Research.

Nielsen first started tracking convention data in 1960.

Across four days of coverage, an average of 22.5 million households tuned in, according to preliminary data from Nielsen, beating the previous convention high of the 1976 Republican National Convention, which averaged 21.9 million homes.

Compared to 2004’s DNC household average, this year’s convention increased by 45%. It should be noted, however, that the main broadcast networks neglected to air day two of the DNC in 2004, greatly diminishing viewership. Ironically, Sen. Obama gave a keynote address on day two.

Coverage of Sen. Obama’s speech last night aired on ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, TV One, BET, Univision and Telemundo. PBS and C-SPAN also carried the speech, but they were not included in the totals distributed by Nielsen. Also not included in these statistics are DVR replays or online views.