Presidential Debate Viewership Signals Changing Media Consumption Habits


Last night’s discuss between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton pennyless a TV ratings record for presidential debates. According to Nielsen, about 84 million Americans watched a debate. And that doesn’t embody a people who streamed it online. we spoke with NPR’s media match David Folkenflik earlier, and we asked him, when was a prior record for a presidential debate?

DAVID FOLKENFLIK, BYLINE: Well you’ve got to go all a approach behind to Oct 1980. President Jimmy Carter had consented to, essentially, what worked out to be a singular discuss with Ronald Reagan. And that clearly shattered, we know, all interest.

You know, debates were not always guaranteed behind then. It’s turn partial of a landscape now and expectation. But we consider it’s also value remembering.

You know, we looked adult U.S. Census data. The race of a United States was a small over 220 million. Now it’s roughly accurately 100 million some-more people. So seemingly, during least, a TV numbers – not so startling that there competence be expansion in that.

SIEGEL: TV isn’t a usually approach we can watch a discuss these days. A lot of people watch a discuss online. What do we know about those numbers?

FOLKENFLIK: Well – and that’s where we consider things get interesting. You know, we looked during a series of outlets and their feeds on Facebook. If we demeanour during a live streams of 7 opposite vital outlets, including places like Al Jazeera, ABC News, NowThisNews, The New York Times, Univision, Fox, a integrate others, that was in additional of 35 million views.

They’re not counted equally to a radio viewer. But 35 million people looked, during least, during partial of those live streams of a debates that way. Similarly, about 5 million people looked during a live streams or streams accessible on YouTube.

And that’s not including this – particular websites, as well. For example, in additional of 2.4 million people – an estimated – watched it on by their giveaway feed. So there are a lot of opposite ways people are entrance this.

SIEGEL: There could’ve been a 100 million that people talked about in allege of a debates.

FOLKENFLIK: You know, all told, it’s tough to bonus that since we don’t know a overlap. But seemingly, there’s a genuine seductiveness here.

SIEGEL: Very few media events get as most courtesy as this one does. What have we schooled from – about a approach that people indeed watch a debate?

FOLKENFLIK: Well, we consider one of a things to take from this is – we know, they say, these debates – after Labor Day, these are a moments where people all come together. And it’s roughly like a reversion to a aged days when there were 3 networks. Everybody had to watch together.

And yet, even as we’re entrance together, we’re doing it in a most some-more fragmented way. So many some-more radio outlets, so many some-more opposite online outlets – opposite ways to consume. And we do it with all this opposite ideological and stylistic bunting. So we’re articulate about a same thing, perhaps. But we’re doing it, often, in really opposite ways.

SIEGEL: One other discerning indicate – if we know. Since people have described a initial half hour of a discuss as carrying left differently than a final hour of it, do we know how many people hung in there for 90 minutes? Or is that a final series nonetheless to be determined?

FOLKENFLIK: we consider as of this impulse – early dusk – a day after, they’re still crunching by a lot of things. We’re still looking for improved numbers to come by online and on a air. But we will contend that, we know, people are interested. There’s a aloft turn of seductiveness in these debates, quite since of, we know, a giveaway radical that is Donald Trump in this chemical element.

SIEGEL: NPR’s David Folkenflik, thanks.


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