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July 30, 2014

Now, the most important part of the Inauguration...the ratings

by Richard Keller, posted Jan 22nd 2009 2:33PM

CNN and MSNBC were kings of Inauguration DayThe 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]

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Dawn50

Wow, so much rightwing WAH! going on here.

Tsk, tsk. Big babies.

January 23 2009 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tim

In 1981, there were only 82 million TV households in the U.S. Today, that number has climbed to 115 million.

Reagan's share of the available audience was 51%, Obama's was only 33%.

IMHO, this does not necessarily reflect the importance of the day to Americans, but does show a significant drop in our reliance on TV as the main source of information.

January 23 2009 at 10:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
PORSCHE

So glad I work over night so was asleep all day and didn't have to put up with it.. then that evening i was off with plenty on the DVR to watch... and a new Fringe was on that night too.

Now please move to the next big story... terrorist breaking out of prision on us soil.

January 23 2009 at 6:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

I wonder if the ratings take "group watching" into account? I know I watched at work with at least 10 people.

January 23 2009 at 12:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Europa

"I have to wonder if they are considering a mass revolt of Nielsen in favor of a better gage of viewership."

We can only hope because God knows Nielsen hasn't reflected intelligent viewer-ship in years! I'm beginning to think that the producers of reality shows and other such crap are the ones actually working at Nielsen.

January 22 2009 at 7:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
B

Too bad Nielsons doesn't count all of the people that watched online and watched at inauguration parties. Gallup is reporting that 60% of Americans say they watched his inauguration.

January 22 2009 at 6:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
miller980

The networks have nothing to complain about. These ratings were for a once in a lifetime event. Now they can go back to their programming that no one watches.

January 22 2009 at 5:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Max

Oh, Obama Squad, we just can't get enough of you just like we can't get enough of the 24/7 coverage of everything and anything Obama. TV, is overrated anyways.

Yes You Can!

January 22 2009 at 5:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Edward

So, total voters = 41.8 million

January 22 2009 at 5:19 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
No1Dad

When will TV Squad officially change it's name to Obama Squad?

January 22 2009 at 3:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to No1Dad's comment
Lauren

It doesn't count the 1.8 (or however many) million that watched in person either! If I hadn't been in there, I would have absolutely been watching on tv!

January 22 2009 at 4:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Butters

Wow, someone is still bitter!

Ratings are an important part of most tv broadcasts and the ratings would have been analyzed even if McCain was the new President.

January 22 2009 at 5:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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