Roughly 18.7 million viewers tuned in Monday evening to watch the first hour of the 2020 Democratic National Convention.
This is a 28% drop compared to the 2016, when more than 25 million viewers watched the convention’s opening night.
The sharp drop in viewership – which doesn’t include streaming services or mobile devices – has largely been attributed to the way the event was held.
The event was essentially a telethon, with featured speakers delivering their talks remotely. This removed much of the excitement typically attributed to conventions.
Other factors affecting viewership include the lack of speculation regarding the DNC’s nominee and the simultaneous broadcasting of delayed sporting events.
MSNBC attracted the most viewers on Monday night with 5.1 million followed by CNN with 4.8 million, ABC with 2.4 million, NBC with 2.3 million, Fox News with 2.1 million, and CBS with 2 million.
As always, older Americans were more likely to watch the convention than younger Americans.
In an op-ed for the Washington Post, radio host Hugh Hewitt urged the RNC to take note of the DNC’s failure and to start brainstorming on how to make the Republican convention more interesting.
“Republicans should learn from the Democrats’ fiasco and switch it up quickly for their convention next week. The best choice is 20 hours of President Trump interviews with 20 different interlocutors. He’s still the best interview in America,” writes Hewitt. “Trump knows TV. That’s why he won the 2016 debates – all of them. His inner programmer knows he doesn’t need to share the stage. Sure, put the candidates in key Senate races in prime time for 15 minutes, but just because the Democrats jumped off a ratings cliff doesn’t mean the GOP has to follow them.”