Monday, January 23, 2017

Inauguration TV Ratings: FNC Wins

(Reuters) -- Nearly 31 million viewers watched live U.S. television coverage of Donald Trump's presidential inauguration, far fewer than tuned in to Barack Obama's first swearing-in, but otherwise the biggest such audience since Ronald Reagan entered office, ratings firm Nielsen reported on Saturday.

The tally for Trump - 30.6 million viewers on 12 broadcast and cable networks that aired live coverage from about 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST - surpassed the TV audiences measured for his two most recent Republican predecessors - both inaugurations of George W. Bush and the one of his father, George H.W. Bush.

The Trump inauguration drew 2.8 million viewers 18-34, 7.2 million 35-54, and 19.2 million 55 and over. Nielsen measured viewership on ABC, CBS, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, CNBC, CNN, Fox Business Network, Fox New Channel, Galavision, HLN, and MSNBC.

Fox News Channel clobbered the competition, cable and broadcast, on Donald Trump’s inauguration day, clocking nearly 11.8M viewers from noon to 12:30 PM ET during Trump’s swearing in and Inaugural Address, as well as 8.4M viewers from 10 AM to 6 PM ET, and 7M total viewers in primetime on January 20, according to Deadline.

Starting with that tighter noon-12:30 PM half hour, CNN trailed FNC with 3.4M viewers, while MSNBC nabbed 1.5M. FNC also outstripped its cable news competitors in the news demographic: 3M 25-54 year old viewers chose FNC, to CNN’s 1.2M and 315K who went with MSNBC.

Fox News Channel also trounced broadcasters in that same block of time.

Among the broadcast networks alone: about 15.3M viewers watched Donald Trump’s inauguration daytime activities via Big 3 broadcast networks, ABC and CBS and NBC.

NBC News led the pack, with an average of 5.8 million total viewers from 10 AM to 5:45 PM ET on January 20.  In the same period of time ABC logged 4.9M viewers and CBS averaged 4.6M.

NBC also led in the 25-54 age bracket that is considered the news demographic, with 1.9M viewers. ABC followed with 1.4M and CBS logged 1.2M.

In the younger 18-49 age bracket, NBC topped the broadcast networks as well, with 1.7M viewers, to ABC’s 1.1M and CBS’s 920K.

The 2009 inauguration of Obama, who became the nation's first African-American president that year, was watched by nearly 38 million viewers, the second-highest number since Nielsen began compiling such figures with Richard Nixon's 1969 oath of office.

Only Reagan drew a bigger U.S. TV inauguration audience, with nearly 42 million viewers tuning in to see the California Republican sworn in for his first term in 1981. Just 25 million watched Reagan take his second oath of office four years later.

Trump's total was greater than both swearing-ins of Democrat Bill Clinton - 29.7 million and 21.6 million - and the second inauguration of Obama, who drew an average audience of over 20.5 million in 2013, Nielsen said.

George W. Bush holds the distinction for having the least-watched inauguration in Nielsen's historical data - 15.5 million viewers in 2005 after he defeated John Kerry for his second term in the White House. That was down sharply from the 29 million who tuned in for Bush's first oath in 2001, following his contested election victory over Al Gore.

The elder Bush by comparison averaged 23.3 million viewers.

Nixon, a Republican, was the only two-term president since Nielsen began compiling such records to draw a bigger audience in his second inauguration than his first, rising from 27 million in 1969 to nearly 33 million in 1973.

The only Democrat besides Obama to ever score more inauguration viewers than Trump was Jimmy Carter, with 34.1 million viewers watching his 1977 swearing-in, according to Nielsen.

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