The congressional testimony of Robert Mueller, the special counsel in the Department of Justice, on Wednesday pulled in a collective Nielsen preliminary measure of 13 million viewers from six networks.
This was below other recent high-profile Washington D.C. testimonies -- most regarding Russian interference and overall presidential obstruction of justice concerns.
Former Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen's testimony tallied 16 million viewers in February, and ex-FBI Director James Comey's June 2017 testimony averaged 19.5 million.
Mueller's testimony, answering questions about findings in his 448-page report, lasted seven-and-a-half hours, 8:15 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. ET. It was aired on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC.
Mueller said the report did not clear the president of possible obstruction of justice.
Fox News Channel grabbed the most overall viewers, at just over 3 million viewers; MSNBC, 2.41 million; ABC, 2.12 million; NBC, 1.99 million; CBS, 1.91 million; and CNN, 1.52 million. (CBS ratings were affected by a blackout of its signals in 10 million homes on AT&T’s DirecTV and U-verse pay TV systems.)
In terms of key TV news viewers -- adults 25-54 -- NBC had the best results, at 536,000 viewers. ABC had 489,000, with Fox News Channel at 441,000; CBS at 406,000; CNN at 365,000; and MSNBC at 347,000.
According to Tunity Analytics, out-of-home viewing such as in restaurants, bars, gyms and offices for the full seven-hour testimony averaged 6.8 million viewers.
The first portion of Mueller’s testimony (8 a.m. to 12 p.m.), before the House Judiciary Committee, averaged 3.8 million.
Mueller’s afternoon testimony, before the House Intelligence Committee, averaged 3 million OOH viewers.
Wayne, these average minute projections by Nielsen tell only a small part of the story. For long form content such as this it's important to tally the total reach of the telecasts---how many people saw at leasst part of the procedings. I would guess that they reached three to five times the number who were counted as average minute viewers when all of those who tuned in for, say, 5+ minutes, are included.