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Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for president on Thursday as an estimated 38 million viewers watched on television, setting a new record for convention viewership, according to Nielsen Media Research.
Mr. Obama’s speech — a historic one given his status as the first African American nominee of a major political party — reached significantly more viewers than the comparable addresses in 2004. Coverage of John Kerry’s acceptance speech in 2004 had 24.4 million viewers; coverage of George W. Bush’s convention speech that same year drew 27.5 million.
The audience estimate of 38.3 million means that Mr. Obama’s speech reached more viewers than the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing, the final “American Idol” or the Academy Awards this year, the Associated Press notes.
Furthermore, the four-night Democratic convention ranks as the most-watched convention of either party, Democratic or Republican, since Nielsen began measuring conventions in 1960.
The four nights of “common coverage” by networks — 10 to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday — were viewed by an average of 22.4 million households, Nielsen said Friday. Previously, the highest-rated Democratic convention occurred in 1980 with 20.5 million households watching, and the highest-rated Republican convention occurred in 1976 with 21.9 million households watching. - NY Times