An emotionally fraught hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday had Americans riveted to their TV sets and mobile devices. Millions of people huddled around their screen of choice for what at times seemed like a nine-hour inquisition into the heart and soul of the nation.
While a delay in Nielsen’s processing of the broadcast ratings and an imprecise reckoning of the streaming numbers leaves us with only a murky impression of the audience for Thursday’s proceedings, the data that is currently available suggests that tens of millions of Americans watched at least part of the hearings.
In terms of the overall TV deliveries, the preliminary ratings indicate that nearly 20 percent of all TVs that were in use between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. were tuned in to the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and Supreme Court justice nominee Brett Kavanaugh on the broadcast and cable networks. According to Nielsen overnight data from the 56 metered local TV markets, the marathon session averaged a 16.2 household rating, which upon the addition of the remaining media markets and the requisite adjustments needed to derive the final live-same-day data, should work out to an average TV audience of around 25 million to 26 million total viewers across NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC.
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