To Paul Lindstrom, Tunity’s head of research and analytics, the hearings were as every bit as popular among OOH viewers as some major sporting events, attracting millions of viewers.
“Across the entire hearing, each of the three cable networks drew substantially higher audiences than usual. I compared the hearing time periods to comparable ones for the week of Nov. 4. Across the entire time CNN indexed 336 versus the benchmark week. Fox News indexed a 186 and MSNBC a 287,” he noted.
The greatest increases in usage came from 18- to 49-year-olds and 25- to 54-year-olds across all three networks. There was a gender skew, depending on the network. CNN increases were more likely to come from men, while Fox News and MSNBC were more likely to come from women.
Viewing By Venues
Depending on network, viewers tended to watch the hearing from a range of venues. Across all three broadcast networks there was a greater percentage of OOH viewing coming from offices than compared to the benchmark week, with the percent distribution indexing from 110 to 153 across the networks.
Airports and other transportation centers made up a greater percentage of the OOH viewing to CNN and Fox News than the benchmark week, with indices of 214 and 142 respectively.
According to Lindstrom, “Overall CNN had a larger percentage of their OOH viewing coming from hotels, schools, colleges, and government facilities than usual. Both Fox News and MSNBC received a larger percentage of their viewing from bars and restaurants. Correspondingly all showed a substantially lower percentage of their OOH viewing coming from gyms, which is a prime OOH viewing location for news.”
He posited that, “Significant news events drive viewership in locations that might not usually have news on their screens or don’t have their screens on, thus allowing for a wider range of viewing opportunities.”
But, he noted, the impeachment hearings couldn’t compete with the Michael Cohen and Brett Kavanaugh hearings, “both of which had substantially higher average audiences in the mid to upper 4 million range across all networks, compared to 2.7 million for the first day of the impeachment hearing.”