The Democratic Debates: Minute-By-Minute Viewership, Ad Spend
Twenty of the Democratic presidential hopefuls took the stage this week in a two-night debate special that was broadcast on NBC, MSNBC and Telemundo. For many viewers, this was their first introduction to the candidates’ positions on everything from climate change and health care to immigration and gun policy.
Here’s a minute-by-minute look at viewership over the course of the evenings provided by Inscape, the TV data company with glass-level insights from a panel of more than 11 million smart TVs.
Perhaps predictably, NBC had the highest tune-in and viewership remained mostly steady with just a little bit of a gradual decrease as both evenings wore on. There was slightly more tune-in for the second night as well.
That second night bump was likely due in part to the candidates that participated in each. Night one featured Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke, but night two featured a longer list of major contenders for the Democratic nomination: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Pete Buttigieg. Featuring more candidates with established bases of support, it would make sense that would drive tune-in.
Given the debate format, brand advertising spend was minimal, but still present at an estimated $9.7 million over the two nights, according to always-on TV ad measurement and attribution platform iSpot.tv. Pharmaceutical brand Xyzal led the way in spending, followed by the New York Times, Alzheimer’s Association, WeatherTech and Showtime. Nearly a third of impressions during the debates were from network promos.