Updated: Obama Counts Record 38 Million Convention Viewers


Democratic Presidential nominee Barack Obama’s acceptance address drew some 38 million viewers Thursday night, the most ever for convention coverage.

Nielsen Media Research data showed that CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, Univision, Telemundo, BET and TV One collectively produced a 24.5 national household rating in the 10 p.m. hour, translating into almost 38.4 million viewers for Obama’s address at Democratic National Convention at Denver's Invesco Field. The Nielsen data didn't include estimates for C-SPAN or PBS's coverage.

CNN was the leader with 8.1 million ABC was second with 6.6 million. NBC averaged 6.1 million, CBS 4.7 million, Fox News Channel 4.2 million and MSNBC 4.1 million.

Minorities played a key role in boosting viewership for Obama’s acceptance address. Nielsen estimated 7.5 million African-American viewers in the 10 p.m. hour Thursday, compared with 4.3 million, 4.6 million and 4.4 million in that period on the first three nights, respectively.

There were some 5.3 million Hispanic DNC watchers Thursdays in the 10 p.m. hour, up dramatically from 1.08 million, 1.35 million and 1.16 million on Aug. 25, 26 and 27, respectively.

Univision and Telemundo didn't televise the first three nights of the DNC.

With the key 25-to-54 news demo Aug. 28, CNN had 3.49 million of those watchers, ahead of NBC's 3.24 million. ABC was next with 2.96 million, followed by CBS's 2.07 million, MSNBC 's 1.81 million and Fox News's 1.41 million.

The DNC in Denver averaged 30.2 million watchers, almost 10 million more than the 20.4 million for the Democratic gathering four years earlier. 

Thursday night’s viewership was 57% above the 24.4 million who watched John Kerry’s acceptance speech during the 2004 DNC, which was covered by the Big 3 and the three cable news neworks.

CNN’s 8.1 million total was 102% more than its 4 million count on the fourth night of the 2004 DNC. Fox News’s 4.2 million marked a 63% improvement from 2.55 million four years ago, while MSNBC’s 4.1 was up 88%.

Obama’s Aug 28 address was also 50% greater than the 25.6 million who watched the Illinois Senator’s campaign competitor, Hillary Clinton, when.she spoke at the DNC in that period Tuesday night. Vice president nominee Joe Biden pulled in just over 24 million viewers Wednesday night, while Michelle Obama averaged 22.3 million on the first night of the 2008 DNC.