Wednesday, February 25, 2009

52 Million PLUS watched Obama's speech on television

He is keeping folks engaged.

More than 52 million people watched President Obama’s first address to a joint session of Congress in prime time on Tuesday, according to Nielsen Media Research.

The TV audience, pegged at 52.4 million by Nielsen, does not include out-of-home or online viewers. Nielsen said the address, which was broadcast roughly between 9 and 10:30 p.m., averaged a 49 share across 10 networks, which means that almost half of the people watching TV at the time were watching Mr. Obama’s speech.

The sizable audience for Tuesday’s address is the latest in a series of Nielsen indications that the nation is paying close attention to the new president. Mr. Obama’s first prime-time news conference on Feb. 9 drew an average of 49.5 million viewers on eight networks.

George W. Bush’s first address before Congress, in Feb. 2001, reached an average audience of 39.8 million viewers.

Online, a C-SPAN video of Mr. Obama’s address has been viewed more than 150,000 times on YouTube. The Republican response, delivered by Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, has been viewed more than 75,000 times.

Another comparison: Mr. Obama’s acceptance speech at Invesco stadium during the Democratic National Convention broke records for a convention speech at 38 million. The numbers were about the same for the inaugural address, although some considered those deflated because it occurred during an afternoon when people were at school and at work, and not in prime time.


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