State of the Union Draws 46.8M Viewers, Nielsen Says

The State of the Union address on Tuesday drew an estimated 46.8 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

It was the biggest audience for a traditional address since 2010, when President Obama spoke to Congress. Bigger audiences saw the president speak in 2017 and 2009, but those speeches were officially called an Address to the Joint Sessions of Congress.

More people watched the State of the Union on Fox News Channel than any other single network. Fox News delivered 11.1 million people.

The broadcast networks had the next most viewers, with 7.1 million viewers on NBC, 6.7 million on CBS, 5.9 million on ABC and 5.9 million on Fox.

MSNBC, with 3.8 million viewers, outdrew its cable news rival CNN, which had 3.4 million viewers.

Fox News also had the most viewers for the Democratic response to the State of the Union, with 6.4 million people watching Stacy Abrams of Georgia.

Nielsen said the State of the Union was also the top program on social media on Tuesday with 15.2 million total interactions across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Of those interactions, 84% took place on Twitter, 12% took place on Facebook and 5% happened on Instagram.

The moment when the most social activity occurred came at 10:13 p.m. ET when President Trump condemned socialism and said “great nations do not fight endless wars.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.