UPDATED with Nielsen stats across 13 networks and Twitter: More viewers turned to CBS to hear President Obama’s State of the Union Address than any other TV network. CBS’ crowd of 7.57 million viewers beat Fox News Channel (3.47 million) and CNN (2.56 mil) combined.
A total crowd of 31.7 million watched Obama’s speech across 13 networks – about 1.6 million shy of last year’s address. Nielsen says this year’s network tally includes ABC, Al Jazeera America, Azteca, CBS, CNN, Fox, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, Galavision, MSNBC, MundoFox and NBC live, and Univision on tape delay.
Following CBS, NBC logged a second-best average of 6.25 million viewers for the speech, followed by ABC’s 5.59 million. Fox News Channel fell in line behind ABC, with Fox broadcast network not far behind at 2.92 million. CNN followed, ahead of MSNBC’s 1.99 mil.
CNN was No. 1 among the cable news networks in the all-important news demo – 25- to 54-year-olds — with an average of 1.02 million. That easily outstripped Fox News, which logged 834,000 demo viewers. Ditto the 473,000 news demo viewers who’d tuned to MSNBC. CNN’s results represent nearly a 40% climb in the demo and 23% in overall crowd compared to last year’s address; on the flip side, FNC tumbled by 20-something percent in both metrics, and MSNBC slid 13% in the demo and in the 30% range in overall viewers.
We’ll forever remember last night’s SOTU as the one in which Obama sucker-punched the GOP “I have no more campaign.s to run,” he said contemplatively, to which some Republicans predictably responded with derisive applause, walking right into his punchline: “I know, because I won both of them.” (Obama also called for higher taxes on wealthy Americans and new initiatives to boost the middle class, but nobody but the wonks are talking about that today – and not even some of them.)
According to Nielsen, Twitter activity surrounding the speech spiked at 10:08 PM when 44,000 tweets were sent in one minute following the President’s successfully pulling off of that gag.
An average of 33.3 million viewers watched Obama’s State of the Union address last year – on par with previous year’s 33.5 million. Last year’s SOTU was carried live on 13 networks and tape-delayed on Univision.
Obama’s first Address to the Joint Session of Congress — POTUS’ first such speech, months after taking office, is not officially called the State of the Union address — clocked nearly 52.4 million viewers, the largest number of viewers since President George W. Bush’s SOTU address following the 9/11 attacks, which clocked 51.8 million.
And nearly 57 million had tuned in to hear Obama on May 1, 2011, when he announced U.S. military forces killed Osama bin Laden in a targeted attack. That address had been carried live from about 11:35-11:44 PM ET on nine networks.