October 8th, 2020

7.3 Million Viewers Watch The Vice Presidential Debate on CNN

CNN was #1 in Cable News During Post-Debate Coverage in the Demos

Network was #1 in Cable News During Late Night Coverage Across the Board

 Largest Streaming Audience for VP Debate in CNN History with 1.5M Peak Viewers; 2.2M Visitors to ‘Facts First’ Content 


7.349 million total viewers watched last night’s Vice Presidential debate on CNN according to Nielsen Fast National data (9-10:30pm).  In the key demo adults 25-54, 2.769 million tuned in and among younger viewers (18-34), 838K watched.  CNN easily surpassed NBC, CBS and Fox (broadcast) and MSNBC in all the demos.  CNN Digital had its largest streaming audience for VP Debate in CNN history with 1.5 million peak viewers; 2.2 million visitors to ‘Facts First’ content.  Last night’s debate was moderated by Susan Page, USA Today’s Washington Bureau chief.



CNN #1 in Cable News During Post Debate Coverage

During the post-debate coverage block (10:30pm-12:00am) anchored by Dana Bash, Wolf Blitzer, Anderson Cooper, Abby Phillip and Jake Tapper, CNN was #1 in cable news among adults 25-54 with 1.907 million, FNC followed with 1.636 million and MSNBC was third with 1.048 million.  Among younger viewers 18-34, CNN was also top rated with 509k, FNC was second with 384k, and MSNBC lagged with 165k.  In total viewers, CNN surpassed MSNBC, posting an impressive 5.272 million vs. MSNBC’s 4.829 million. FNC drew 6.458 million.

CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Don Lemon anchored the network’s late-night coverage (1:00-3:00am) and ranked #1 with 1.342k million total viewers, 440k among adults 25-54 and 69k younger viewers. The program was most watched across cable news in all key demos and FNC followed with 1.252m/323k/61k and MSNBC had 1.008m/190k/13k respectively.


CNN Digital

CNN’s live stream of the 2020 Vice Presidential Debate saw a record 1.5 million concurrent viewers streaming at the 10:31p.m peak, making it the largest vice presidential debate audience in CNN history for peak concurrent viewers. It is CNN’s second largest debate of all time, behind only the first presidential debate of the 2020 campaign last week. CNN saw a total of 1.4 million unique live video viewers on CNN.com, CNNgo and mobile apps and 5.9 million live starts on CNN’s owned platforms, and YouTube (CNN.com, Edition.CNN.com, CNNgo on OTT apps, CNN mobile apps for iOS/Android and YouTube; CNN’s debate coverage was not live streamed on Facebook or Twitter). That’s an increase of 176% for live video viewers and 518% for live starts over the vice-presidential debate of 2016.

CNN saw 435k users live stream the average minute of the VP debate (equivalent to the way TV ratings are calculated). TV plus digital live streaming produced a combined average audience of 7.784 million total viewers. Digital viewing added a 5.9% lift to CNN TV P2+ average audience for debate day.

On debate day, CNN Digital saw 36.5 million unique multiplatform visitors and 5.8 million unique video viewers across CNN’s owned platforms. For last week’s first presidential debate, CNN was the #1 digital news source for the day, outranking all competitors and surpassing #2 New York Times and #3 Fox News by more than 15 million visits. (Competitive daily ranking is published by SimilarWeb on a delay. VP debate day ranking is not currently available.) 

Additionally, 2.2 million unique visitors consumed CNN Digital’s ‘Facts First’ on debate day, spending an average of 8.4 minutes engaging with the content – its fourth biggest day ever for audience and second biggest day ever for time spent behind only the day of the 2020 first presidential debate. Top search terms within the database included key issues like fracking, swine flu, taxes, the Green New Deal, climate change, and Covid-19.

The audio of the debate also streamed on CNN’s channels on SiriusXM, Radio.com and TuneIn Radio.