CNN Democratic Presidential Debate Draws 8.3 Million TV Viewers -- And 9.2 Million Live Streams

The fourth Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday on CNN took in a slightly lower Nielsen-measured 8.3 million TV viewers compared to an earlier debate on the cable network -- but saw a tripling of live streams to 9.2 million.

The CNN/New York Times Democratic presidential debate saw 4 million total live-stream starts on CNN and The New York Times platforms. Adding in 5.2 million Facebook live starts, the total came to 9.2 million across CNN, The New York Times and CNN Facebook Pages.

For the second debate in July -- a two-night event on CNN -- live streaming came in at 2.8 million for the first night and 3.1 million for the second night. In traditional TV viewing, CNN had 8.7 million viewers on the first night and 10.8 million for the second night.

When looking at a similar like-to-like TV measure, average minute viewing for the latest debate -- the combined live streaming on CNN and The New York Times -- posted 449,000 average minute viewers.



CNN's TV results were lower than the third Democratic presidential debate in September, which aired on ABC and took in 14.1 million Nielsen viewers.

The first debate on NBC networks -- airing on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo in June and also a two-night event -- scored a total of 15.3 million viewers for the first night and 18.1 million for the second.

NBC averaged 9 million live streams for each of the nights.

3 comments about "CNN Democratic Presidential Debate Draws 8.3 Million TV Viewers -- And 9.2 Million Live Streams".
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  1. Gary milner from The Simpler Way, October 17, 2019 at 11:35 a.m.

    Is the streaming figures indicative of society change and where the tv market is headed?

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 17, 2019 at 3:38 p.m.

    A live stream "start" is not the same thing as an average commercial minute "audience" as calculated by Nielsen. A fairer comparison would be with a total audience rating for the CNN debates, counting any set that tuned in at any time for even one minute, including any that zapped the commercials. That number would, no dount, be far higher than the 8.3 million average commecial minute audience reported by Nielsen.

  3. John Grono from GAP Research replied, October 17, 2019 at 11:10 p.m.

    IMHO, it would be preferable that the stream count was reported side-by-side with the total streaming time (assuming that the Gold Standard for video and audio - average minute audience - will not yet be countenanced).

    Further the stream counts should be reported de-duplicated.   A person may start streaming content but due to high demand and narrow access, it is very common that you get a drop-out and have to re-initiate the stream.   That person then contributes twice to the stream count.

    Think of this in another way.   What if televison reported their audiences as 'tune-ins'?   That is, you are watching a show, the ads come on, you start channel surfing, go back to your original channel - no, they are still showing ads, so some more surfing, then finally back to the show.

    Would we accept that as the programme audience?   Not in a pink fit!   So why do we allow this for streams?

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