CNN falls short of NBC on both cable and streaming viewers for debate

If CNN was hoping to latch onto NBC’s recording setting debate ratings trend, it seems it’s going to fall a bit short.

According to initial data, 8.7 million viewers watched CNN first night across CNN and its Spanish language network.

Numbers were also down over NBC for the second night.

CNN also said 2.8 million watched via streaming.

Compare that to NBC’s 15.3 million on night one and 18.1 million the second night and it’s clear CNN isn’t likely to come close even when the second night’s data is added.

NBC, meanwhile, recorded 9 million unique streaming viewers across both nights and 10 million live stream starts.

CNN let a random drawing determine both candidate grouping and night assignments, though some of the bigger names ended up on night two.

NBC did a random drawing to determine the two pools of 10 candidates, but ultimately decided which group would debate which night — and opted to put the “bigger” names on night two.

All that said, it’s worth noting that NBC had the advantage of airing the debates on two broadcast networks (the peacock and Telemundo) that are often available to homes with even basic pay TV packages or for free over the air in most markets.

NBC also aired its coverage on its cable news channel MSNBC.

Both CNN and CNN en Español typically require higher paid packages and can’t be viewed for free over the air.

Though live streaming is a sort of modern day workaround for that shortcoming, CNN doesn’t appear to have drawn the same interest as NBC.

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