Now, the most important part of the Inauguration...the ratings
The celebrations may be over in Washington D.C. as President Barack Obama gets to work, but there's probably still some partying over at the networks as the ratings for the Inaugural Day coverage have begun to come in. Things look good for a number of networks as they continued their upward trend of viewership that began during election coverage.
Overall, nearly 38 million of viewers in the U.S. tuned into one of the 17 broadcast and cable networks to watch the inauguration events. While not the 41.8 million that watched Ronald Reagan's inauguration in 1981, it is the most viewers since that time. Breaking it down further, NBC, ABC and CNN led the way with the most viewers between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm. Even further than that, NBC had the most viewers between 11:00 and the end of Obama's speech with a total of 11.5 million. In the world of the Internet, MSNBC was king with a total of 16.4 million unique visitors throughout the day.
While the numbers for the Internet coverage are probably accurate since they have software to track those types of statistics, I think the viewership for standard television coverage is waaayyy off. That's thanks to the primitive Nielsen rating system that may be older than even Leslie Nielsen. Since the Nielsens only look at home viewership they're missing out on viewers who watched the inauguration at work, school, or in auditoriums and theaters across America. Combine all of those viewers and you're probably looking at something closer to half the U.S. population rather than just 40 million.
Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if the networks were just a bit upset about these numbers since they know they reached more viewers than the rating company is reporting. In a time where these ratings are even more important to pull in the necessary revenue, I have to wonder if they are considering a mass revolt of Nielsen in favor of a better gage of viewership.
[Data via Cynopsis]