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Kavanaugh-Ford Hearing Draws Over 20 Million Viewers Total

UPDATED at 2:55 p.m. PT: The Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Thursday drew a massive audience across the various news networks.

According to Nielsen data, the full-day coverage of the hearings drew a combined 20.4 million viewers across NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC.

The hearing–which saw testimony from both Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault–aired throughout most of the day Thursday.

On the cable news side, Fox News led the pack in total viewers throughout the day, averaging 5.66 million viewers from 10 a.m.-6:45 p.m. ET. MSNBC was second in total viewers with 2.88 million for the same time period, with CNN finishing third with 2.51 million.

In the key news demo of adults 25-54, Fox News was also first in the same time period with an average of 1.06 million viewers. CNN was second with 730,000 and MSNBC was third with 461,000.

Coverage for all three networks peaked during Kavanaugh’s testimony, which took place from approximately 3:15 p.m.-6:45 p.m. Fox News led with an average 7.17 million viewers during that time with 1.4 million in the key demo. MSNBC was second in total viewers with 3.18 million but third in the demo with 553,000. CNN was third in total viewers with 2.78 million but second in the demo with 856,000.

During Dr. Ford’s testimony, which took place from approximately 10:30 a.m-2:15 p.m., Fox News averaged 4.69 million total viewers with 840,000 in the demo. MSNBC was again second in total viewers with 2.72 million but third in the demo with 393,000. CNN was third in total viewers with 2.37 million but again second in the demo with 652,000.

On the broadcast networks, ABC led in total viewers with an average 3.26 million throughout the whole hearing. CBS was second with 3.1 million and NBC was third with 2.95 million. In the key demo, NBC was first with 749,000. ABC was second with 691,000 and CBS was third with 632,000.

On the digital side, it was much the same. According to data provided by CNN, the network had its biggest day of 2018 and sixth biggest day of all-time for live streaming with 8.2 million live starts on its website and apps. The hearing reached 26 million unique visitors and generated 115 million page views, in addition to the 30 million video starts, with the majority of the audience on mobile devices.

Fox News Digital delivered its highest number of politics page views, video initiates, and time spent on the platform this year, according to data from Adobe Analytics. The livestream of the hearing on FNC’s digital platforms drove 3 million video starts.  In total, there were 8 million livestream video initiates on Fox News Digital. On the FNC mobile app, it was also the highest day in unique visitors for the year.

NBC News Digital’s livestream garnered a total of 3.5 million video starts across all digital platforms, including NBCNews.com and MSNBC.com. This was NBC News Digital’s most-watched livestream of the year. In total, combining the livestream and additional digital video starts, the hearings garnered more than 6.8 million video starts.

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