Millions of people in the United States and around the world watched the live media coverage of the 2012 presidential election on November 6. According to Nielsen Fax National Ratings data, 66.8 million people tuned in during the prime-time to watch the news coverage during the election night.
Thirteen networks aired live coverage of the presidential election from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, Univision, Telemundo, CNBC, CNN, FOX News Channel, MSNBC, Current TV, TV One.
FOX News Channel (FNC) marked another major milestone in the network’s 16-year history by averaging its highest-rated primetime EVER with 11.5 million viewers – beating its previous primetime record of 9.2 million viewers in 2008 (the night of the VP debate). Additionally, FNC is the only cable news net that is up from 2008 in primetime in both P2+ and 25-54 – CNN and MSNBC are both down from four years ago. FNC is up 27% while CNN is down 25% and MSNBC is down 21%. Below are the early ratings, according to Nielsen Media Research:
PRIMETIME COVERAGE 8:00-11:00PM (primetime coverage)
FNC: 11,453,464 in total viewers (4,451,387 in 25-54)
CNN: 9,251,678 in total viewers (4,572,022 in 25-54)
MSNBC: 4,666,307 in total viewers (1,996,555 in 25-54)
7PM-12AM/ET (Election Night)
FNC: 10,552,197 (P2+), 4,108,649 (25-54)
CNN: 8,881,539 (P2+), 4,355,915 (25-54)
MSNBC: 4,555,306 (P2+), 1,940,392 (25-54)
2008 Election 8-11PM/ET (Primetime)
FNC: 9,044,000 (P2+) +27%, 3,925,000 +13%
CNN: 12,304,000 (P2+) -25%, 5,820,000 (25-54) -21%
MSNBC: 5,889,000 (P2+) -21%, 2,663,000 -25%
Aside from watching television coverage, millions of people also watch live streams, and read news updates about the presidential election online through several websites such as Foxnews.com.
In terms of website views, Foxnews.com had 28 million visitors to the site during the election night, based on data from Omniture Site Catalysts. The site recorded a major traffic milestone in its 16 years history. Its traffic increased by 95 percent compared with the number of visitors to the site during the 2008 election.
During the 2012 election, Foxnews.com delivered 6 million video starts and more than 3 million live streams surpassing CNN’s.
Below is a further breakdown of the news from Fox Business Network (FBN):
FOX Business Network scored another ratings win in the demo on election night with Special Report: Election 2012 topping CNBC’sYour Money Your Vote by 2%. The special, which was anchored by Neil Cavuto, showed a ratings growth of 176% in the demo compared to 2008, whereas CNBC was down 13% compared to their 2008 coverage. In addition, FBN’s special editions of Varney & Co and Lou Dobbs Tonight (5-7p) also earned a 48% demo advantage over CNBC’s 5-7pm Your Money Your Vote Squawk Boxprogram.
- FOX Business Network topped rival CNBC in the demo on election night from 7p-1a by 2% scoring 138,000 viewers in A25-54 to CNBC’s 136,000.
- In total viewers, FBN earned 284,000 while CNBC took in 322,000
- FBN’s ratings were up 226% in total viewers and 176% in the demo compared to election night 2008 while CNBC’s ratings were down 27% in total viewers and down 13% in the demo
- In addition, FBN’s special editions of Varney & Co (5pm) and Lou Dobbs Tonight (6pm) beat CNBC’s special edition of Squawk Box Your Money Your Vote (5-7p) by 48% in the demo with 49,000 to their 33,000 A25-54 viewers.
- In total viewers, FBN averaged 149,000 for the two hours compared to CNBC’s 239,000 total viewers.