CNN Democratic Debate Sets Ratings Record

But Viewership Still Falls Short of GOP Brawl

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Hillary Clinton on CNN's Democratic presidential debate on Oct. 13, 2015.
Hillary Clinton on CNN's Democratic presidential debate on Oct. 13, 2015. Credit: CNN/YouTube

CNN's Democratic debate set a ratings record for the cable news network on Tuesday night.

The prime-time brawl moderated by Anderson Cooper was watched by 15.3 million total viewers, according to initial Nielsen data, making it the most-watched Democratic debate on record.

In the target 25-to-54 demographic, the debate was watched by 4.8 million people. Prior to last night, the highest-rated Democratic presidential primary debate on cable news was CNN's 2008 Los Angeles debate, which averaged 8.3 million viewers, and on broadcast the highest rated was ABC's 2008 Philadelphia debate, which averaged 10.7 million viewers.

But last night's face-off was still less than viewing for CNN's broadcast of the GOP debate that aired on Sept. 16, which was watched by nearly 23 million people. And the first Republican debate on Fox News in August was watched nearly 24 million total viewers. The blunt rhetoric from Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has made for entertaining TV and in large part has been credited for drawing viewer and advertiser interest. Mr. Trump also tweeted along with the debate last night. At one point tweeting "get rid of all of these commercials."

CNN's live stream of the debate was also impressive, peaking at 980,000 concurrent streams at 10:20 p.m., according to the network. In comparison, NBC pulled 1.3 million peak concurrent streams of the Super Bowl this year.

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