Thursday, January 30, 2014


So Nielsen tells us that the TV ratings for this year's State of the Union address were down. As Entertainment Weekly notes:
President Obama's State of the Union Address drew the fewest viewers of his presidency Tuesday night. In fact, the annual live prime-time speech was the least-watched SOTU by any president since Bill Clinton’s final address in 2000.

Obama's speech to the nation was seen by 33.3 million viewers, according to Nielsen.
The right-wing schadenfreude is palpable. Newt Gingrich tweets:

Gingrich is now the co-host of CNN's Crossfire. The State of The Union address had 33.3 million viewers. Know how many viewers Crossfire had on Tuesday, a few hours before the State of the Union?

Um ... 264,000.

Gateway Pundit's headline is "NO ONE IS LISTENING... Nielson [sic] Ratings for Obama's SOTU LOWEST IN 20 YEARS." This from a blogger who boasted a few years ago about getting 1,266,001 blog visits -- in a month. (About 28 months of readership at that rate would add up to the State of the Union's viewership.) Even more amusing: this headline from the blog of Doug Ross, which used to be known as Director Blue: "I GUESS WHINY, DEPRESSING LIARS AREN'T GOOD FOR RATINGS: State of the Union Nielsens Lowest Ever." This from a guy who averages about 5,000 visits a day.

Before the State of the Union, a lot of Republicans were posing with one of the stars of Duck Dynasty, which is one of the top-rated shows on cable. Know how many viewers watch Duck Dynasty? Well, the most recent episode had 6.6 million viewers -- one-fifth the State of the Union's ratings.

And we know Fox is the top-rated news channel on cable. Know how many people watch its top-rated show, The O'Reilly Factor? 2,720,000 in January -- less than one-tenth of the State of the Union's viewership.

Yes, the State of the Union address has been a much bigger draw in the recent past. Yes, its ratings dropped even though it's on multiple channels. But in a way, it's amazing anyone watches the damn thing -- why watch a president list for an hour all the things he wants to do that Republicans will block by any means necessary?

The point is, in a thousand-channel, streaming-video, game-console world, this year's State of the Union address still had a huge viewership -- a bigger audience than the average episode of NCIS or American Idol or Sunday Night Football. As a niche blogger myself, I say niche media types would kill for an audience the size of Obama's.


Danp said...

why watch a president list for an hour all the things he wants to do that Republicans will block by any means necessary?

Bingo! If it weren't for John Boehner's color changes, there is no entertainment value. And it's hard to imagine (or care about) any man-on-the-moon proposals in front a congress that is so disfunctional.

Victor said...

When Boner changed colors, I wanted to say that classic line from "The Wizard of Oz" - slightly, amended, of course:

"Why, that's the horse's ass of a different color!!!!"

aimai said...

I didn't watch. I'd definitely watch it if I could watch it with mystery science theater style friends and the camera angles that matter to me. But the truth is that I don't like to get my information that way, I'd rather read an account or a transcript than sit through a video or tv news style presentation of anything.

Jon said...

Not to mention a large part of the southeast was stuck in traffic still trying to get home that night

merlallen said...

I vote in every election and follow politics pretty closely. I have never in my life watched a SOTU or any speech on TV.

Ten Bears said...

Didn't watch it. Never do. Read the transcripts. 'Course, I don't watch Crossfire, O'Rielly or Suck Fantasy either.

Judge once gave me the choice of either keeping my pistol or keeping a tv. I kept the pistol.

I'd already shot the tv.

No fear.