With the Presidential race heating up, NBC News’ NBC/MSNBC scored the best Democratic Presidential debate ratings so far -- a collective 19.7 million Nielsen-measured total viewers.
For the Las Vegas debate, coming before the Nevada primary vote, 12 million viewers tuned in to the event on the NBC Television Network, with 7.6 million on MSNBC -- the third-largest audience ever for a single telecast on the cable network.
Analysts says the debate was boosted by the first-time appearance of candidate Michael Bloomberg, who has received major attention coming from his massive political TV advertising campaign, estimated to have spent in excess of $450 million.
Bloomberg received multiple verbal attacks and criticism from Democratic debate candidates during the event.
For prime-time 8-11 p.m. viewing -- which includes pre- and post-debate coverage -- MSNBC averaged 6.0 million viewers. Fox News Channel was at 3.3 million and CNN came in at 772,000.
The debate airing outperformed the previous Democratic Presidential debate of June 27, 2019, which had 18.1 million viewers, in the second day of the two-day event on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo.
The Las Vegas debate had more than twice the viewership of two previous Democratic Presidential debates -- ABC on February 7th, with 7.9 million viewers and CNN in October 2019, with 8.6 million viewers.
Top demographic ratings for NBC: adults 25-54 had a 2.4 rating and adults 18-49 had a 1.4 rating. The MSNBC demographics revealed a 5.2 Nielsen-measured rating for adults 50 and older, while adults 25-54 had a 1.6 rating; and adults 18-49 had a 1.2 rating.
The limited-TV advertising event had a combined 24 TV commercial airings -- on MSNBC/NBC from QuickBooks, Walmart, Verizon, Viking Cruises, Progressive, Otezla, Claritin, Ninja Cooking, Vroom, Rakuten, Amazon Prime Video, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Home Advisor, Mazda, SoFi, and Tylenol, according to iSpot.tv.
NBC says there were nearly 22 million video views across all platforms, including NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, NBC News NOW on OTT devices, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
The biggest Presidential debate was on Fox News Channel in August 2015 -- the first debate between Republican Presidential candidates for the 2016 Presidential race -- which scored 24 million viewers. A second Republican Presidential debate, a month later, posted 23 million.
NBC News also said the broadcast drew 13.5 million live-streaming views -- which translates roughly to a comparable Nielsen average minute audience of 417,000 viewers.