TRUMP v. CLINTON, which convention won the TV ratings war?


When it comes to making appearances, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump approached their respective conventions in different ways.

The DNC was held in Philadelphia. And Clinton kept herself out of site until night 3 when she appeared on stage at the conclusion of the speech given by President Obama. She appeared again the following evening when she closed out the convention with her acceptance speech.

Trump on the other hand inserted his presence into all 4 nights of the RNC which was held a week earlier in Cleveland.

So, who’s approach was smarter when it comes to winning TV ratings?


With nearly all ratings in across networks, the DNC finale comes in short of the RNC — though averages a much stronger showing over four days.

Two solid-ish weeks of political conventions culminated in Thursday’s final outing for the Democrats. Hillary Clinton capped off the fourth night of the DNC with a history-making acceptance of her party’s nomination during an address to the Philadelphia crowd — and a TV audience that came in just shy of Donald Trump’s seven day earlier.

After a solid, if not spectacular, showing from the Republicans just a week ago, the DNC upped the ratings game by a strong margin over the first three days of its convention. It simultaneously outpaced its 2012 showing, albeit not by that much. Updated returns for Clinton’s speech, delivered during the 10 o’clock hour on nearly all television networks, offer a tally of 33.3 million viewers from the four broadcast networks and three cablers with coverage. Trump brought in 34.9 million viewers across all nets carrying the speech.

CNN again led the pack with 7.5 million viewers during the speech’s time period. MSNBC followed 5.3 million viewers, with broadcast sister network NBC News just behind with 4.5 million viewers. (That makes for the eighth night of convention coverage in which the network topped its broadcast competition.) ABC News follows with 3.9 million, with CBS pacing third with 3.7 million. Fox News Channel grabbed 3 million viewers. An additional 1.5 million viewers came from Spanish-language net Univision. PBS channels surged to a convention high, bringing in 3.9 million viewers during Clinton’s speech.

But this has been a cable news convention cycle. CNN has handily topped every night of DNC overage, while Fox News outpaced the pack in RNC ratings. The two networks, along with NBC News, leave these two weeks with the most bragging right.

Though some smaller nets (see: CNBC and Fox Business) will have ratings arrive later, it won’t likely top Donald Trump’s audience last week as the 2016 conventions high. Outperforming 2012 and 2008 DNC showings from Barack Obama also won’t be possible for Clinton. Those convention finales reached respective formidable tallies of 35.7 million and 38 million viewers.

2016 Convention Audiences
The below numbers reflect Nielsen sums of broadcast and cable coverage — as well as PBS stations.

Day 1 — 28.4 million
Day 2 — 28 million
Day 3 — 27 million
Day 4 — 33.3 million

Day 1 — 23 million
Day 2 — 23 million
Day 3 — 19.8 million
Day 4 — 34.9 million

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