Broadcast ratings for second night of Democratic convention off 48 percent from 2016

The Democratic National Convention drew 6.13 million viewers on broadcast television networks ABC, CBS and NBC on Tuesday night, according to preliminary data, marking a 48 percent drop from the second night of the convention in 2016.

The Nielsen Media Research numbers come after broadcast ratings dropped by 42 percent on Monday night when compared to the first night of the convention in 2016. When including cable news networks MSNBC, CNN and Fox News, the total viewership on the first night of the 2020 convention was 18.6 million, an overall decrease of 27 percent from four years ago.

Speeches from prominent figures ranging from former first lady Michelle Obama to former President Clinton have been pretaped and without audience reaction, which has dampened the usual energy and excitement that accompanies presidential nominating conventions.

TV viewership is not the only measurement of audience numbers, however.

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s spokesperson, T.J. Ducklo, tweeted on Tuesday that digital views were up from 2016 and that the campaign is “producing a digital convention, and people are watching.”

The Republican convention will be held next week, with many speeches being staged outside at the White House, according to President Trump.

“I’ll probably be giving my speech at the White House because it is a great place. It’s a place that makes me feel good, it makes the country feel good,” Trump told the New York Post.

“We’d do it possibly outside on one of the lawns, we have various lawns, so we could have it outside in terms of the China virus,” he continued in reference to coronavirus social distancing measures.

“We could have quite a group of people. It’s very big, a very big lawn. We could have a big group of people,” he added when asked if he’d formally accept the Republican nomination for president with a crowd of supporters.

Biden’s running mate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and 2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton will be speaking at the Democratic convention Wednesday night.

Overall when including cable news numbers released by Nielsen late Thursday afternoon, the second night of the Democratic convention attracted 18.2 million viewers, down two percent from Monday night’s 18.6 million. When compared to 2016 Democratic convention numbers, Tuesday’s viewership was down 24 percent overall. 

MSNBC led the way on the cable news front with 4.6 million viewers from 8:00 pm to 11:00 pm ET. CNN was second in total viewers with 3.6 million, followed by Fox News with 3.5 million. 

When compared to the first night of the Democratic convention, MSNBC gained five percent in viewership, while Fox News gained 3 percent and CNN dropped by 12 percent.

Updated at 6:24 p.m.


Tags 2020 conventions 2020 Democratic convention ABC Bill Clinton broadcast ratings CBS Donald Trump Hillary Clinton Joe Biden Michelle Obama NBC

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