Presidential inauguration draws 20.6 million viewers

By on Jan, 23 2013 with Comments 0

Barack ObamaSome 20.6 million people tuned in to watch President Obama’s second inauguration on television on Monday, Jan. 21, 2013. While coverage varied by network, 18 networks aired live coverage from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET, says a NielsenWire blog post. The first table highlights the sum of the average audience for these networks.

While viewership was down 17.2 million people—or 46 percent—for Obama’s second inauguration, it did hold pace with the drop-off that George W. Bush’s second term inauguration experienced. In fact, viewership has historically slid for second term inaugurations. Pres. Richard Nixon is the only president in recent history that has seen an increase; he notched a 22 percent increase during his second term inauguration.

Monday January 21, 2013
Entire Inaugural 10a.m. – 4:30p.m. (ET) Rating Number of Homes/Viewers
Households 14 16,020,000
Persons 2+ 7.1 20,552,000
Inauguration Day Coverage
Date (January 20) President HH Rating (% of U.S. TV Households Tuned) Number of Households Number Persons+2
2009 – Tue
Barack Obama
25.5
28,906,000
37,793,000
2005 – Thu
George W. Bush
11.8
12,928,709
15,536,652
2001 – Sat
George W. Bush
20.8
21,346,400
29,008,200
1997- Mon
Bill Clinton
17.1
16,515,000
21,583,000
1993 – Wed
Bill Clinton
24.5
22,758,111
29,721,041
1989 – Fri
George H.W. Bush
20.0
18,106,000
23,316,325
1985 – Sun
Ronald Reagan
22.3
18,925,556
25,053,886
1981 – Tue
Ronald Reagan
37.4
29,100,000
41,800,260
1977 – Thu
Jimmy Carter
31.5
22,430,000
34,127,090
1973 – Sat
Richard Nixon
28.5
18,470,000
32,950,900
1969 – Mon
Richard Nixon
33.5
18,870,000
27,007,700
Source: Nielsen

2013 Networks Included: The 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. viewing numbers includes programming provided by ABC, CBS, NBC, UNIVISION, TELEMUNDO, AZTECA, MundoFox, PBS, Fox News Channel, CNN Headline News, Fox Business Network, MSNBC, TV One, CNN, Current TV, CNBC, CENTRIC and BET.

As to the specific viewing, the NAB points out that almost twice as many Americans tuned into broadcast television networks than cable news networks for coverage of the inauguration on, according to Nielsen data. An average of 5.1 million viewers watched NBC’s telecast of the inauguration from 10 a.m.-4:35 p.m., 3.9 million viewers tuned into ABC during the ceremony, and CBS’s broadcast drew 3.7 million viewers. Meanwhile, during President Obama’s oath of office and inaugural address, an average of 3.1 million viewers were tuned into CNN, 2.3 million viewers were watching MSNBC, and Fox News attracted 1.3 million viewers.

2009 Networks Included: The 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. viewing numbers includes programming provided by ABC, CBS, NBC, UNIVISION, BBCA, BET, CNN, FOX News Channel, MSNBC, and TVONE. Contributing to these viewing numbers are TELEMUNDO, CNBC, ESPN, CNN HEADLINE, MTV, MTV2, MTVTR3S who aired programming approximately between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. ET.

For historical information on previous debates and additional political information from the current campaign, click here.

About The Author: Carl has been with RBR-TVBR since 1997 and is currently Managing Director/Senior Editor. Residing in Northern Virginia, he covers the business of broadcasting, advertising, programming, new media and engineering. He’s also done a great deal of interviews for the company and handles our ever-growing stable of bylined columnists.

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