NBC, CNN Win Wednesday Convention Ratings Race

Aug 28, 2008  •  Post A Comment

NBC News and CNN were the kings of the hour during which VP candidate Joe Biden spoke at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday, drawing more viewers than any of their five commercial cable or broadcast competitors.
The total audience across broadcast and cable channels fell from Tuesday night, even as CNN and MSNBC increased their ratings.
NBC’s prime-time coverage, which ran over some three minutes past 11 p.m. averaged 5.46 million viewers, according to live plus same-day data from Nielsen Media Research. CNN averaged 5.38 million viewers from 10 to 11 p.m., according to national data from Nielsen Media Research.
There was a wider gap between CNN and Fox News, which tends to only find itself in second place on big Democratic nights. Fox News Channel averaged slightly less than 2.70 million last night during the Biden hour. MSNBC averaged 2.27 million viewers.
For the 8-11 p.m. prime-time block, which also featured a much-scrutinized speech by former President Bill Clinton, preliminary local data from Nielsen showed some 22.97 million viewers watched. That number includes viewers on the three broadcast networks, the three cable news networks, BET and TV One. That’s lower than Tuesday’s total across the networks of 25.97 million.
CNN averaged 4.2 million viewers, up 95% from the third night of the Democrats’ gathering four years ago on July 28. Fox News averaged 2.86 million viewers for the night, up 61% from 2004. MSNBC averaged 2.1 million viewers in prime time, flat with 2004.
Among the 25- to 54-year-old viewers targeted by cable news networks, CNN finished prime time with an average 1.75 million viewers in the demographic, more than triple the number from 2004. MSNBC averaged 873,000 viewers, also tripling the 2004 number. Fox averaged 703,000 viewers in the demo, up 38% from 2004.
CNN and MSNBC saw their audiences grow 24% and 5%, respectively, compared to Tuesday night, when New York Sen. Hillary Clinton took to the convention stage to urge her followers to vote for presidential candidate Barack Obama. Fox’s total viewership for Wednesday was down 14% night to night.
NBC finished first among broadcast networks’ Democratic 10-11 p.m. convention coverage for the third night in a row and CBS moved into second for the first time this week. ABC was the only network convention hour to grow from its entertainment lead-in for the third night in a row.
CBS was the only network to see its convention special grow from Tuesday night. NBC and ABC saw their convention audiences drop night to night.
NBC averaged 5.46 million, down some 540,000 viewers from Tuesday, down 1.38 million viewers from the comparable night in 2004, and down 51 from its lead-in, the summer hit “America’s Got Talent.”
CBS averaged 3.54 million viewers Wednesday, up some 150,000 viewers from Tuesday, down 313,000 viewers from 2004, and down 50% from its lead-in, a repeat “Criminal Minds.”
ABC averaged 3.48 million viewers, down 1.3 million viewers from Tuesday night, down about 607,000 viewers from 2004, and up 7% from its lead-in, a repeat “Supernanny.”
PBS’s live convention coverage in prime time had its best night yet this week, according to overnight ratings from 52 metered markets, averaging a 2.4 rating/4 share, up from a 2.0 rating/3 share Tuesday and down slightly from a 25. rating/4 share in 2004.
(Editor: Baumann)

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