A grand total of 27.82 million people watched coverage of the final night of the 2016 Democratic National Convention across ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News. These numbers don’t include Spanish language networks like Univision or entities like C-SPAN, which aren’t measured by Nielsen.
That’s lower than the six-network haul for Republican nominee Donald Trump’s speech a week ago, which drew an audience of 30.05 million. Even if you add in ratings from PBS to both the final nights of the DNC and RNC, the DNC still comes up slightly short (31.72 million vs. 31.95 million). The big difference-maker is, unsurprisingly, the audience for Fox News. For the Trump anointing, 9.35 million people tuned in. Less than a third of that number turned on Fox News for Clinton’s crowning.
CNN once again won the DNC coverage ratings race, with 7.5 million total viewers and 2.81 million in the cable-news-coveted 25-54 demographic. MSNBC weighed in with 5.72 million total and 1.53 million in the demo. Fox News had 3.03 million total and 785,000 in the demo.
It’s no secret that convention viewership skews toward the higher age ranges, and that the audience for the RNC has an older skew than the DNC. In 2012, half the TV viewers for the final night of the DNC were 55 or older, and 15% of the viewers fell between the ages of 18 and 34. For the final night of 2016’s RNC, 60% were 55 or older; 58% in 2012. The percentages for both conventions were higher in the nights leading up to the nominees’ acceptance speeches. A mere 8.6% of the viewers for the final night of this year’s RNC fell into the 18-34 age range.
It’s possible the proliferation of streaming options ate away at the DNC’s TV viewership, luring away younger eyeballs. Or perhaps just not as many people felt they needed to watch Clinton deliver an acceptance speech as America’s first female presidential nominee for a major party.