Fewer people watched opening night of Democratic convention compared to 2016

Fewer people watched opening night of Democratic convention compared to 2016
© Pool

Television viewership for Monday's opening night of the virtual Democratic National Convention was down nearly 30 percent compared to four years ago.

Preliminary figures from Nielsen Media Research found that 18.6 million Americans tuned in, though the Biden campaign said digital views were up compared to 2016, when fewer than 26 million watched.

MSNBC drew the biggest TV audience of the cable and broadcast networks, with 5.096 million viewers tuning in from 10 p.m. to 11:15 pm ET. CNN was second with 4.777 million viewers, followed by ABC with 2.442 million, NBC with 2.282 million, Fox News with 2.099 million and CBS with 1.985 million.


The convention's programming on Monday began at 9 p.m. ET, with the same start time slated for the three remaining nights.

TJ Ducklo, national press secretary for the Biden campaign, tweeted that digital views were up from 2016 and that the campaign is "producing a digital convention, and people are watching."


Monday's events were hosted by "Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria, with former first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden set for dueling town halls amid battleground blitz Obama to stump for Biden in final campaign stretch Celebs accept Michelle Obama's challenge to assemble a #VotingSquad MORE giving the final speech of the evening.

"Donald Trump is the wrong president for our country. He has had more than enough time to prove that he can do the job, but he is clearly in over his head," Obama said in her pretaped remarks, which were recorded before presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden: Trump 'continues to lie to us' about coronavirus Rally crowd chants 'lock him up' as Trump calls Biden family 'a criminal enterprise' Undecided voters in Arizona wary of Trump, crave stability MORE named Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisUndecided voters in Arizona wary of Trump, crave stability Foreign policy is on the ballot in 2020; so is American credibility Perez on Biden's poll leads: Democrats 'take nothing for granted' MORE (D-Calif.) as his running mate on Aug. 10.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpPolice say man dangling off Trump Tower Chicago demanding to speak with Trump Fauci says he was 'absolutely not' surprised Trump got coronavirus after Rose Garden event Biden: Trump 'continues to lie to us' about coronavirus MORE responded on social media, calling Obama's speech "divisive."

"She was over her head, and frankly she should’ve made the speech live, which she didn't do," Trump said during a White House event commemorating the 100th anniversary of women's suffrage.

The virtual format was panned by some on both the left and the right, with former Democratic presidential candidate Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson discusses speaking at People's Party Convention Fewer people watched opening night of Democratic convention compared to 2016 Marianne Williamson: Democratic convention 'like binge watching a Marriott commercial' MORE comparing the event to "binge watching a Marriott commercial."

Former President Clinton, Jill Biden and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezOVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA may violate courts with new rule extending life of unlined coal ash ponds | Trump reverses course, approving assistance for California wildfires | Climate change, national security among topics for final Trump-Biden debate Biden distances himself from Green New Deal during town hall Ocasio-Cortez, progressives call on Senate not to confirm lobbyists or executives to future administration posts MORE (D-N.Y.) are slated to speak on Tuesday night.