(UPDATED WITH FINAL NUMBERS) It looks like Donald Trump is going to take the lead over Hillary Clinton this election – at least when it comes to how many people watched the last night of the Republican National Convention and how many watched the last night of the Democratic National Convention.
With figures in from NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC, the ex-Secretary of State’s historic acceptance speech as the first woman to be the Presidential nominee for a major American political party drew 27.8 million viewers. That 10 PM – 11:40 PM ET coverage is down 2.4 million from what Trump and the RNC got on the same outlets on July 21 from 10 – 11:45 PM ET.
Or to put that in percentile perspective, last night’s DNC numbers on the broadcasters and top cable newsers saw an 8% dip in total viewers from what the RNC snagged the week before.
When you add the coverage on Fox Business Network, CNBC, Univision and NBC Universo, the RNC figure goes up to 32.2 million. Over 13 stations, including the three broadcast nets and the top cabler newsers trio, the September 6, 2012 DNC speech by a reelection seeking Barack Obama had 35.71 million viewers. (UPDATE, 12:29 PM: With all the numbers in from all the outlets, including PBS, the last night of the 2016 DNC had 33.3 million viewers to the RNC closing night’s 34.9 million. Which means Donald Trump’s speech of July 21 beat Hillary Clinton’s of last night by 5% in total eyeballs)
Looking night-to-night, Day 4 of the DNC was up 16% in viewership over Day 3, when Obama, plus current VP Joe Biden and VP hopeful Tim Kaine addressed the delegates in the City of Brotherly Love.
Besides the RNC, CNN was the big winner of last night’s HRC speech with 7.505 million viewers and 2.812 million in the 25-54 news demo. In contrast, RNC topping FNC had 9.4 million total viewers and 2.4 million the news demo on July 21. In the primetime hours of 8 – 11 PM ET and with 5.693 million viewers, the Jeff Zucker-led outlet nailed the highest viewership that any DNC had on cable news since records were first compiled in 1996.
Over the four-nights of the Democrats Hillary-fest in Philly, CNN was #1 in viewers with 6.394 million and 2.291 in the 25-54 demo. MSNBC was second in viewers with 4.686 million and NBC was number #2 in the demo with 1.7 million watching. Over both the RNC and the DNC, and providing a lot of that trump heft, FNC was the highest rated cable newser with an average audience of 4.5 million total viewers
Now all those numbers are likely to look like small change when Clinton and Trump face off in their first head-to-head debate of the election on September 26 at Hofstra University. The two will meet up two more times on October 9 in St. Louis and on October 19 in Las Vegas. I’m not much of a betting man, but with ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FNC and MSNBC, not to mention the always reliable C-SPAN, covering the encounters, expect the ratings bank to break.