The one-hour primetime special, Graduate Together: America Honors The High School Class of 2020, which featured a commencement address by former President Barack Obama, drew 20.8 million viewers across TV and digital platforms, according to Nielsen Media Research and organizers. The full clip of former President Barack Obama’s commencement message was viewed online an additional 38.3 million times. In total, television, streaming, and online clip views from Graduate Together exceed 60 million.
An estimated 14.1 million viewers in the U.S. tuned in for the one-hour broadcast special, which aired at 8 pm ET/PT on Saturday, May 16, across 11 networks and cable channels, including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, CNN, The CW, Freeform, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and Univision in Live+7, according to Nielsen. There were approximately 6.7 million more views on cable, streaming, and social media platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, and YouTube—for a combined total of 20.8 million views.
The special also had a large footprint on social media. There were 5.8 million interactions across Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter. On the night of the show, Graduate Together-related social posts and mentions earned 2.4 billion impressions. The show’s official hashtag, #GraduateTogether, trended at #2 on Twitter for the first seven hours from the initial broadcast. In total, more than 317,000 pieces of user-generated content were posted about Graduate Together on social media.
Co-curated by high school students and educators, with the support of the American Federation of Teachers, Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 was a tribute to the more than three million high school seniors across the country whose final weeks of high school, including graduation ceremonies, were postponed or canceled due to COVID-19. In addition to President Obama, the commercial-free program featured a collection of commencement messages, musical performances, and inspirational vignettes from prominent leaders, educators, and entertainers.
A partnership between XQ Institute, The LeBron James Family Foundation, The Entertainment Industry Foundation, and Done & Dusted, the full Graduate Together broadcast and special content was made available on 46 partner platforms including network and cable channels, online streaming platforms, and digital content distribution partners.
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