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DNC Beats RNC for Third Straight Night in Early TV Ratings

Early ratings results for Night 3 of the Democratic National Convention are in, and once again the DNC appears to have beat out the Republican National Convention. Across live coverage on NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News from 10 p.m. on, 24.03 million people tuned in to hear vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine and President Barack Obama address the convention.

The equivalent night of the 2016 RNC drew 23.4 million pairs of eyeballs last week. In a move that may or may not be related to the DNC’s third night of ratings wins over the RNC, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump sent an e-mail to his supporters urging them not to watch Hillary Clinton deliver her nomination acceptance speech on the final night of the Democratic convention.

CNN won the coverage race with 6.17 million total viewers, followed by MSNBC with 4.92 million. The three broadcast networks that carried live coverage from 10 p.m. on — ABC, NBC and CBS — drew a combined audience of 10.58 million viewers. Fox News delivered 2.39 million viewers.

Last night’s results require even more context than usual. Headline speaker President Barack Obama didn’t hit the stage until around 10:55 p.m., after Tim Kaine spoke and inspired a fun Twitter game. (Kaine was preceded by current VP Joe Biden.) The president’s speech ran until about 11:40 p.m., and upon the speech’s end Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton stepped out to join him, extending coverage another several minutes.

It’s also nearly impossible to make any kind of comparison with the 2012 DNC. Last election, the DNC occurred over only three nights. Comparing the audience of 2016’s Night 3 with 2012’s Night 3 (35.72 million total viewers across 13 networks) means comparing a middle night with a final night; the audience for the final night of any party convention generally dwarfs that of the previous evenings. But comparing 2016’s Night 3 with 2012’s Night 2 (25.12 million across seven networks) is also not quite an apples-to-apples affair.

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