24 mil­lion watched US Repub­li­can pres­i­den­tial de­bate: Nielsen

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

A stag­ger­ing 24 mil­lion view­ers tuned in to the U.S.’ Fox News to watch the first ma­jor op­po­si­tion Repub­li­can Party pres­i­den­tial de­bate, the high­est-rated non-sports tele­cast in ca­ble tele­vi­sion history, Nielsen fig­ures re­leased Fri­day showed.

The view­er­ship of the prime­time 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. de­bate, in which fron­trun­ner Don­ald Trump squared off against nine of his top Repub­li­can chal­lengers for the nom­i­na­tion, is by far the high­est rat­ing of any pres­i­den­tial pri­mary de­bate.

“Fox had 24 mil­lion view­ers last night. That is an ab­so­lutely mon- ster num­ber,” tweeted Fox media com­men­ta­tor Howard Kurtz.

Rat­ings mon­i­tor Nielsen Media Re­search said that among the tele­cast’s view­ers, 7.9 mil­lion were in the 25-54 age range, the key advertising de­mo­graphic.

By com­par­i­son, the first Repub­li­can de­bate of the 2012 pri­mary sea­son, on May 5, 2011, av­er­aged 3.3 mil­lion view­ers.

Num­bers were also huge for the sec­ond-tier de­bate which took place at 5:00 p.m. Thurs­day and fea­tured the seven low- polling can­di­dates who failed to make the cut for the prime time event.

Some 6.1 mil­lion peo­ple watched the pre­lim­i­nary de­bate, Nielsen said.

The de­bate night ap­pears to have been a multi-plat­form smash.

Face­book, which co-spon­sored the show­downs, said 7.5 mil­lion peo­ple in the United States made 20 mil­lion de­bate-re­lated in­ter­ac­tions on Face­book, in­clud­ing likes, posts, com­ments and shares, the so­cial media gi­ant said Fri­day.

Twit­ter re­ported that tweets about the two de­bates were viewed a whop­ping 1.1 bil­lion times.

Kurtz ar­gued that the sky-high view­er­ship was a com­bi­na­tion of “huge public in­ter­est, Trump, Au­gust lull and riv­et­ing tele­vi­sion.”

Trump, who af­ter­ward ac­cused Fox mod­er­a­tors of ask­ing “un­fair” ques­tions of him dur­ing the de­bate, was clearly a main fac­tor — and in a bru­tal tweet Fri­day he let the broad­caster know it.

“@ FoxNews you should be ashamed of your­self. I got you the high­est de­bate rat­ings in your history & you say noth­ing but bad,” Trump tweeted to his 3.5 mil­lion fol­low­ers.

In an in­ter­view with CNN late Fri­day, Trump cred­ited him­self for the record rat­ings.

“If I wasn’t in the event, they prob­a­bly would have done 2 mil­lion, 3 mil­lion peo­ple max,” he said. “So, I’m very happy about it. Most peo­ple say that I won the de­bate and I won it easily.”

The de­bate view­ing re­sults are not just good news for Fox.

The Repub­li­cans will host at least eight more de­bates as the party whit­tles down its broad field and de­ter­mines its flag­bearer to go up against the likely nom­i­nee of the rul­ing Demo­cratic Party Hil­lary Clin­ton.

The next Repub­li­can de­bate is sched­uled for Sept. 16 in Cal­i­for­nia and will be broad­cast on CNN.

The de­but Demo­cratic Party de­bate is sched­uled for Oct. 13 in Ne­vada, also on CNN.

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