Television coverage of U.S. President Barack Obama’s re-election drew 66.8 million viewers last night, down 6.5 percent from his historic 2008 win, Nielsen said on its website.
Comcast Corp. (CMCSA:US)’s NBC network led 13 broadcast and cable networks in prime time, averaging 12.1 million viewers, according to data released separately by the networks. News Corp.’s Fox News cable channel was second with an audience of 11.5 million in that time period.
The ratings cap an election cycle in which candidates, political parties and interest groups were forecast to spend $2.7 billion on television commercials, up 53 percent from four years ago, according to the advertising firm Magna Global SA. In 2008, 71.5 million viewers watched election night coverage on 14 networks, Nielsen said on its website.
Walt Disney Co. (DIS:US)’s ABC attracted 10.5 million, while Time Warner Inc.’s CNN averaged 9.25 million viewers. CBS Corp. (CBS:US)’s network drew 7.92 million viewers and News Corp.’s Fox broadcast network averaged 4.93 million.
Comcast Corp., based in Philadelphia, fell 1.6 percent to $36.58 at the close in New York, while Disney, based in Burbank, California, declined 0.8 percent to $50.08. News Corp. gained 1.6 percent to $24.67 after posting better-than-expected earnings after markets closed yesterday.
CBS Corp., owner of the most-watched network, fell 1.3 percent to $34.
Of the major newscasts, Fox News increased its audience by 27 percent. CBS and NBC both rose about 1 percent, while the others registered declines.
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