The gap between Biden and Trump was wider earlier in the day, when fewer networks were counted in the total. Nielsen released its final audience estimate late on Friday afternoon, bringing Trump within a million viewers. Still, Biden clearly edged out Trump.
The Democratic convention was also higher-rated than the Republican convention overall when the audience for all four days is tallied up.
He did not share any immediate reaction when the initial viewership figures showed him trailing Biden.
If history is any guide, he may tout Fox News Channel’s ratings instead of the overall results. Fox News had by far the biggest audience of any channel on Thursday night, with upwards of 9 million viewers.
Fox News announced in a press release that it had the “highest-rated prime time average among total viewers during any convention in cable news history.”
Nielsen’s data sets count traditional TV viewership across America but largely leave out streaming and other digital forms of engagement, so the picture is incomplete.
And it is impossible to know how many people watched just Trump, just Biden, or both speeches.
So the ratings are not a proxy for voter behavior — but they are notable for other reasons.
Later in the afternoon, Ducklo commented again: “Turns out Americans aren’t really into the dark and dystopian view of the country that Donald Trump is presiding over as president.”
Viewership of both of the Republican and Democratic conventions was rather weak on the broadcast side. Americans flocked to cable news networks instead. CNN noted in a Friday press release that, for the eight nights combined, CNN “topped all the broadcast networks — NBC, ABC and CBS — in total viewers and demos,” meaning the different age demographics that advertisers target.
Overall viewership skewed older, as political coverage typically does.
Fox News ratings were relatively weak during the Democratic convention and incredibly strong during the GOP convention. Nearly half of all the people watching Trump’s Thursday night speech on TV were watching on Fox.