CNN Tops All Rivals for DNC Coverage

Aug 29, 2008  •  Post A Comment

CNN assembled a whopping audience of nearly 8.06 million viewers during the hour dominated by candidate Barack Obama’s acceptance speech Thursday night, beating all its cable and broadcast competition, according to national data from Nielsen Media Research.
Every TV outlet covering the convention saw its audience grow on the final night of the gathering compared to Wednesday.
Coming off a lead-in from a repeat “Grey’s Anatomy,” ABC’s convention special averaged 6.58 million viewers to edge out NBC for the first time this week. NBC followed an NFL pre-season game and averaged 6.1 million viewers during its convention coverage.
In the same hour, CBS averaged 4.72 million viewers, followed closely by Fox News Channel with 4.2 million. MSNBC averaged 4.0 million viewers for the hour.
CNN, which has developed the pattern of beating Fox during events that focus on Democrats, also continued its weeklong win streak in prime time, averaging 5.67 million viewers from 8 to 11 p.m. EDT. Fox News Channel, which averaged 3.38 million viewers in prime time, continued its four-night streak of beating MSNBC, with its average of nearly 2.79 million viewers.
In total viewers, CNN was up 113% compared with the Dems’ closing night on July 29, 2004. MSNBC was up 76% and Fox was up 35%.
Among the 25- to 54-year-old viewers who are key to news programmers, CNN notched its fourth consecutive win with 2.31 million viewers in the demo, up 200% compared with the Dems’ closing night in 2004. MSNBC finished second in the demo for the night with an average 1.16 million, up 103% from four years ago. Fox averaged 988,000 viewers in the demo for the night, up 12% from 2004.
Across the four nights, CNN was up an average 85% in total viewers and 172% in 25-54 from 2004. Fox News was up 52% and 22%, respectively, from 2004. MSNBC improved 74% and 114%, respectively, from four years ago.
PBS’ coverage of the convention during the prime-time hours of 8-11 p.m. EDT averaged a 2.6 household rating/4 share, according to Nielsen overnight data from 52 metered markets. That’s down from the 3.1 rating/5 share for closing night in 2004.
For the broadcast networks, Thursday was one of night-to-night improvement, but only ABC and NBC showed growth compared to 2004. NBC and CBS lost audience from their entertainment lead-ins, while ABC improved on its lead-in dramatically.
ABC gained 3.48 million viewers from Wednesday night, 1.73 million viewers from 2004 and 2.53 million from its lead-in.
NBC gained 640,000 viewers from Wednesday, 750,000 viewers from 2004, and 3.08 million viewers from its lead-in.
CBS gained 1.18 million viewers from Wednesday night, but lost 830,000 viewers from 2004 and 740,000 viewers from its lead-in.
(4 p.m.: Updated throughout)


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