First night of 2020 DNC TV ratings down 25% from 2016

Aug 18, 2020, 4:05 PM
DNC ratings...
MILWAUKEE, WI - AUGUST 17: The control room where live feeds are managed is in operation for the first night of the virtual DNC convention at the Wisconsin Center on August 17, 2020 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The convention, which was once expected to draw 50,000 people to the city, is now taking place virtually due to concerns with the coronavirus pandemic.  (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Television ratings of the first virtual Democratic National Convention (DNC) was down about 25% from the equivalent night in 2016, but Democratic officials said digital tune-in was up, reflecting a years-long shift in viewing media habits.

Overall the television and digital data for Monday night of the Democratic National Convention showed that the two-hour event reached a broad audience but wasn’t a breakout success.

According to Nielsen the six biggest TV networks averaged a combined total of 19 million viewers during the 10 p.m. hour, which was the only hour that NBC, ABC and CBS showed live.

The same six networks had almost 25 million viewers combined during the first night of the DNC in 2016.

The two highest-rated channels were MSNBC, with nearly 5.2 million viewers in the 10 p.m. hour, and CNN, with 4.8 million.

Fox News, which is typically No. 1 in prime time, averaged far fewer viewers at 10 p.m., about 2.1 million, which reflects its core conservative audience’s disdain for Democrats like Michelle Obama, who delivered Monday’s keynote.

The differences with this year’s convention are innumerable — in 2016, there was a physical convention location and days of live TV coverage from the host city, which tends to stoke interest in the event.

On the other hand, the pandemic and the Democratic party’s fierce opposition to President Trump were factors that could have helped overall viewership this year.

The Nielsen data only counts traditional TV. Streaming services are increasingly cutting into TV viewership and providing people with more ways to consume big events.

Joe Biden’s campaign said the convention speeches and videos were live-streamed by 15 different platforms, including YouTube and Twitter. Speakers like such as Michelle Obama shared their remarks on their own social media accounts, as well.

Biden national press secretary TJ Ducklo said at least 10.2 million people watched live internet streams of the convention on Monday night.

The online viewership is not directly comparable to television, since the data is measured differently, but Ducklo said the 2020 streaming numbers “shattered” the 2016 numbers.

“We are producing a digital convention, and people are watching,” Ducklo said.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

Hurricane Ian flooding in Naples, Florida....
Amir Vera, Eric Levenson, Jason Hanna and Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Hurricane Ian weakens to Category 3 after making landfall in Florida, but officials warn the worst is yet to come

Hurricane Ian has weakened to a Category 3 storm hours after pummeling southwestern Florida Wednesday, but officials are warning people to stay inside as the worst of the storm is still on the way.
1 day ago
Researchers at UNLV say rocks with volcanic ash as old as 12 million years have been discovered at ...
Adam Small

Ancient volcanic ash found at Lake Mead, researchers say

Rocks with volcanic ash that could be 12 million years old have recently been found at Lake Mead, according to researchers from UNLV.
1 day ago
utah NWS warnings...
Mark Jones

Severe thunderstorm warning issued for Davis and Weber counties

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for parts of Davis and Weber counties on Wednesday night. There is a slight chance of more rain on Thursday, according to KSL weather.
1 day ago
Hurricane Ian Satellite image...
Mark Jones

Former KSL NewsRadio talk show host in the path of Hurricane Ian

Drew Steele, a former KSL NewsRadio talk show host, currently lives near Fort Myers, Fla., with his family and is in the path of Hurricane Ian.
1 day ago
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Utah Transit Authority and bus operations across the natio...
Waverly Golden

UTA makes service reductions following staffing shortages

According to a press release from UTA, several emergency bus service adjustments will be made this December 11. 
1 day ago
academic website, BYU race...
Aimee Cobabe and Alex Cabrero

Researchers using dirty diapers to develop new autism test

Dirty diapers are being used by researchers at Brigham Young University as a way to try and detect autism in young children at an earlier age.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
First night of 2020 DNC TV ratings down 25% from 2016