Cable Ratings: 2016 DNC vs. 2008 DNC

By A.J. Katz 

The Lost Remote newsletter brings you the the best in streaming news, from staffing changes to premiere dates to trailers—to the latest platform moves. Sign up today.

With the 2016 Democratic National Convention in the books, we wanted to compare the cable news viewership of the 2008 DNC, Barack Obama‘s first nominating convention, with the 2016 DNC, which nominated Hillary Clinton.

Each figure below is a four-day sum total, per Nielsen Media Research, of CNN, Fox News and MSNBC in prime time. (Because the 2008 RNC was only three days there is not a fair comparison to 2016’s 4-day event)

As you can see, the 2016 DNC was watched by +25 percent more viewers than Barack Obama‘s first nominating convention. CNN had the most viewers, MSNBC was up the most, and only Fox News didn’t add viewers. The news demo was flat vs. 2008. CNN was most-watched (and was also the No. 1 cable news network of the month in the demo), MSNBC showed the most improvement, and Fox News saw a -17 percent decline.

DNC: 2016 vs. 2008

Network 2016 Total Viewers 2008 % Change
CNN 20.49M 16.99M +20.6%
MSNBC 15.20M 9.03M +68.3%
Fox News 12.56M 12.58M -0.2%
DNC Total 48.25M 38.60M +25.0%


Network 2016 A25-54 demo 2008 % Change
CNN 6.82M 6.70M +1.9%
MSNBC 4.21M 3.67M +14.9%
Fox News 2.74M 3.29M -16.7%
DNC Total 13.77M 13.65M +0.9%