How does viewership look for this year’s Republican National Convention compared to those of the recent past? Below is a look at averages from 2004 – 2016.
*Note: Only three of the four nights for both the 2008 and 2012 Republican National Conventions were measured by Nielsen due to tropical weather, which postponed each convention.
- 2016: Over 4 nights, a combined 44.59 million people watched the 2016 Republican National Convention across CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. 11.68 million of those viewers were A25-54, 26.2 percent of the total.
- 2012: Over 3 nights, a combined 25.76 million people combined watched the 2012 Republican National Convention across CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. 6.69 million were A25-54, 26.0 percent of the total.
- 2008: Over 3 nights, a combined 33.80 million people watched the 2008 Republican National Convention across CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. Interestingly, 12.06 million were A25-54, 38.7 percent of the total. Perhaps VP nominee Sarah Palin added an “entertainment value” to the festivities, thus potentially attracting more young people. Purely speculation.
- 2004: Over 4 nights, a combined 26.66 million people watched the 2004 Republican National Convention across CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. 9.54 million were A25-54, 35.8 percent of the total.
Viewing of the 2016 RNC on the prime time cable networks was strong compared to the GOP conventions of the recent past. That said, news demo viewership for 2016 was down from the 2008 convention. We also saw a lower percentage of GOP convention viewers in the A25-54 demo compared to previous conventions. Only 31 percent of CNN’s viewers for this past convention were A25-54, compared to 32.5 percent in 2012, 39.7 percent in 2008 and 31.7 percent in 2004.
Only 22.9 percent of Fox News viewers were A25-54, compared to 24 percent in 2012, 33 percent in 2008 and 37.5 percent in 2004.
Only 27.6 percent of MSNBC viewers were A25-54, compared to 28 percent in 2012, 38.7 percent in 2008, and 34 percent in 2004.
Perhaps this is all part of a more general trend in the media landscape, the fact that younger viewers are now more likely to consume content on alternate devices than they are the old fashioned way, on a TV set. The median age of the linear TV viewer has increased in recent years across the entire landscape, and this is also true when it comes to TV news.
*All figures are based on Nielsen Live and Live+Same Day data.