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TV By the Numbers: Election Coverage Dominates Week of Nov. 2

Norah O'Donnell and the CBS News team preparing for Election night
(Image credit: CBS News)

This is a quick snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of Nov. 2-8, revealing the most-watched shows and networks using glass-level data from Vizio’s Inscape, and the top shows and networks by TV ad impressions with insights via iSpot.tv.

Most-Watched Shows and Networks 

Via Vizio’s Inscape, the TV data company with insights from a panel of more than 16 million active and opted-in smart TVs. Data is linear, live TV only and includes all episode types (new and reruns). Rankings are by percent share duration (i.e., time spent watching).

Although NFL football once again took first place for watch-time last week (6.56%) and college football jumped up to No. 3 (3.11%), election coverage and other news programs dominated the rest of the show ranking, led by CNN’s Election Day in America (3.62%) and Election Night in America (2.53%). It’s also worth noting that 60 Minutes on CBS rocketed up the chart into 19th place; the show didn’t make the top 50 ranking last week.

Related: As Election Week Went On, CNN Overtook Fox News for TV Share

Most-watched TV shows by percent share duration Nov. 2-8

(Image credit: Inscape)

CNN captured the highest percentage of watch-time (10.04%), mostly thanks to its ongoing election coverage. NBC took second place with 8.51% share duration, fueled by NFL football, Today, college football, Saturday Night Live and The Voice. Lifetime, which wasn’t in the ranking last time, took No. 25 with 0.72% of minutes watched, thanks to multiple Christmas movies.

Most-watched networks by percent share duration Nov. 2-8

(Image credit: Inscape)

Top Shows and Networks by TV Ad Impressions

Via iSpot.tv, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company. Rankings are by TV ad impressions, for new episodes only. 

NFL games were once again the biggest driver of TV ad impressions (7.3 billion, a decrease from the previous week’s 7.8 billion), followed by college football (3.1 billion). Nearly every other program on the ranking was related to news and 2020 election coverage, unsurprising since the ballot counting dragged out for five days until Joe Biden was declared the President-elect on Nov. 7.That being said, The Voice and The Bachelorette still scored spots in the top 25, with 402.1 million and 364.3 million impressions, respectively.

Top shows by TV ad impressions Nov. 2-8

(Image credit: iSpot.tv)

Looking at the network rankings, CNN overtook long-time leader Fox News with 9.8 billion TV ad impressions vs. 7.3 billion. CBS, NBC and ABC rounded out the top five. Multiple sports-focused networks also made the ranking: ESPN snagged 2.4 billion impressions, Fox Sports 1 delivered 503.1 million, NFL Network had 451.5 million, Big Ten Network generated 212.9 million and Golf delivered 192.4 million impressions.

Top networks by TV ad impressions Nov. 2-8

(Image credit: iSpot.tv)