The television viewership ratings for the Democratic National Convention are significantly down compared to 2016. It is estimated that viewership is down a staggering 30%. The Biden campaign national press secretary, TJ Ducklo, tweeted that social media views were up from 2016 and that the campaign is "producing a digital convention".
Nielsen Media Research released a press announcement that stated that 19.7 million people tuned in to television networks. "An estimated 19.7 million people tuned in to watch the first night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention on Monday, August 17. Day one of the convention was carried live from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and remotely from many venues throughout the country across 10 networks. The night featured speeches from Senator Bernie Sanders, as well as former U.S. first lady, Michelle Obama. While coverage varied by network, all 10 aired live coverage from approximately 10:00 p.m. ET to 11:15 p.m. ET".
In contrast, Nielsen made the following statement in 2016 "An estimated 26 million people tuned in to watch the first night of the 2016 Democratic National Convention on Monday, July 25. Day one of the convention was carried live from Philadelphia, Penn., across seven commercially-supported networks. The night featured speeches by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders and the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama. While coverage varied by network, all seven aired live coverage from approximately 10 p.m. ET to 11:30 p.m. ET".
The 2016 press release continued, "In terms of the social nature of the convention, 3.3 million Tweets were sent by 693,000 people in the U.S. about the first night of the “Democratic National Convention,” according to Nielsen Social. Twitter activity spiked at 10:21 p.m. ET when 30,400 Tweets were sent in one minute following Michelle Obama’s speech".
The ratings from 2016 were from 7 networks whereas Monday's ratings were from 10 networks and only included network viewership. Digital or social media streaming were not included.
For the DNC viewership only, 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.
During the live streaming Monday night, a Twitter user documented the viewership live on YouTube across several MSM channels covering the convention as it was happening.
NBC: 80k watching 50% dislike
ABC: 17k watching 40% dislike
MSNBC: 110k watching 35% dislike
Joe Biden Ch.: 23k watch, 54% dislike
NowThis: 5k watch, 68% dislike
PBS: 33k watch, 50% dislike
Fox: 99% dislike
Viewership and dislike Ratio as of 8/19/2020
NBC: 698k Views 43% dislike
ABC: 319k Views 36% dislike
MSNBC: 854k Views 38% dislike
Joe Biden Ch.: 297k Views 52% dislike
NowThis: 101k Views 50% dislike
PBS: 85k Views 43% dislike
Fox: Does not have full convention on channel
Ducklo mentioned on Twitter that the digital media numbers were way up, "shattering the previous record for digital streams, which totaled 10.2m even as numbers still come in", however, he failed to mention what those numbers were in 2016.
On Tuesday night, the preliminary Democratic National Convention ratings were consistent with Monday at 0.2-0.3, a much tighter range than the ratings in 2016, which were at 0.4-1.3 on the broadcast networks.
Joe Concha, The Hill's media reporter, was interviewed on Fox News and commented on the poor ratings from Monday night. "I get that we're in a pandemic and it can't be like a normal convention but this made a PBS telethon look like New Year's Eve in Times Square," Concha told "Fox & Friends First" on Tuesday. "It was just beyond boring, for lack of a better term, and it just felt too homogenized. There didn't seem to be any authenticity to it."
"But don't take my word for it," Concha said, citing anti-Trump voices in the media who described it with words like cringey, sad, slow, phony, amateur, robotic, boring and painful.
Concha went on to mention the lack of interaction with the press, "Hopefully Joe Biden will one day, and Kamala Harris, will sit down with an actual journalist where their records will be scrutinized and they're going to have a lot to answer for because they're offering a lot and not a lot of ways to pay for it."
With the number of American's home because of the nonstop COVID-19 fear, you would think more of them would have tuned in to see the major party convention. UncoverDC will report on RNC numbers as well.