An Estimated 13.8 Million People Tuned In to Televised Coverage of Day One of Impeachment Inquiry

November 15, 2019 by Dan McCue

WASHINGTON – An estimated 13.8 million people tuned in to watch diplomats Bill Taylor and George Kent testify at the first public hearing of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, according to Nielsen.

Millions more streamed the day-long event on their mobile and other devices.

The ratings company said while coverage varied by network, 10 aired either live or tape-delayed coverage from about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesday.

These included ABC, CBS, NBC, Telemundo, PBS, CNN, CNNe, the Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and HLN, which showed the hearings on tape delay.

What is particularly noteworthy is that the overwhelming majority of people who tuned in – 10.6 million — were Americans over the age of 55.

By comparison, 2.36 million viewers were age 35 to 54, and a paltry 541,000 were 18 to 34.

The networks, of course, parsed the more detailed data they get by subscription from Nielsen to tout how well they had done.

Among those taking the loudest victory lap was CNN, which said its coverage of the hearings between 10 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. averaged 428,000 among adults age 25 to 54, easily topping CBS, which averaged 384,000 viewers over the course of the lengthy hearing, and MSNBC, which averaged 365,000 viewers.

CNN says it was also the winner in total viewers, pulling in 1.85 million viewers for its coverage of the hearing, compared to second-place finisher NBC’s 1.67 million.

In addition to its televised coverage, the news network’s internet side, CNN Digital, saw 2.4 million total live starts across its digital platforms, according to Adobe Analytics.

Additionally, the hearing recorded 511,000 live video views on YouTube, for a grand total of 2.9 million views across CNN Digital channels.

For the full day of the hearing, CNN Digital reached more than 25 million cross-platform unique visitors and 17 million video starts across its desktop, mobile and other devices.

CNN Digital viewing added an 8.3% lift to CNN TV’s P2+ average audience for Wednesday’s House impeachment hearing.

This network said this is the fifth-highest event on record for the combined platform, behind the President George H.W. Bush funeral (10.1%) and ahead of day 2 of the Kavanaugh/Ford Hearings (7.8%).

Not to be outdone, a spokeswoman for the Fox News told The Well News the channel had a monster day Wednesday thanks to the impeachment hearing, outpacing all other broadcast and cable news networks in total viewers. 

Citing Nielsen, Fox News Channel said it averaged 2.9 million total viewers and 444,000 in the 25-54 demographic between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Wednesday.

In comparison, the Fox News Channel says it had 3 million total viewers for Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony before Congress on July 24, 2019, and 2.8 million total viewers for special coverage of the release of the Mueller report on April 18, 2019.

The Fox News Channel’s special coverage of former FBI director James Comey’s testimony before Congress on June 8th, 2017 averaged 3.1 million total viewers, the channel said.

Fox News Channel said it also went on to dominate the night time hours after the impeachment hearing wrapped up.

“Hannity” was the number one rated show in its time slot with 4.4 million total viewers, and 711,000 age 25 to 54, while “Tucker Carlson Tonight” ranked second with 3,966,000 total viewers and 648,000 age 25 to 54.

According to Adobe Analytics, Fox News Digital (Web + Mobile App) outperformed both the Special Counsel Robert Mueller and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh hearing days in terms of Unique Devices, and delivered a 16 percent increase over the 2019 to date average. 

Additionally, the Fox New Go Authenticated Live Stream on November 13th had its highest day of Media Initiates and Unique Devices since Midterm Election post-day coverage on November 7, 2018.

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