Averages Nearly 20 Million Television Viewers Across the Two Networks,

Plus 13.5 Million Live Streams

#1 Dem Debate in History in Both Total Viewers and the Key A25-54 Demo

NBC News and MSNBC Now Claim the Top Two Dem Debates Ever

February 20, 2020 – NBC News and MSNBC once again made television history with the most-watched Democratic debate ever, averaging nearly 20 million total viewers across the two networks, according to Nielsen Fast National Data.  Last night’s debate was also the top-rated Democratic debate ever in the key A25-54 demo and attracted 13.5 million live stream viewers, surpassing any previously hosted debate this election cycle. NBC News and MSNBC now claim the top two Democratic debates and top three Democratic debate nights.

The ninth DNC-sanctioned debate of the 2020 presidential election, which also marked former Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s debut, averaged 19.658 million television viewers, with 5.310 million in A25-54 and 4.257 million in A18-49 across NBC and MSNBC from 9:00-11:00 pm ET. 

NBC’s digital performance also exceeded any of the network’s major political live events since the 2016 election. The debate live stream generated 13.5 million live video streams and nearly 22 million video views across all platforms, including NBCNews.com, MSNBC.com, NBC News NOW on OTT devices, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The digital streams translate to an average audience of 417K viewers.

Users engaged an average of 37 minutes watching the livestream debate via on-net platforms, and 66.5 minutes on average via OTT devices on NBC News NOW, according to Adobe Analytics. Users also spent an average of 37 minutes watching the debate via on-net platforms, according to Adobe Analytics. Across OTT devices, NBC News NOW’s users engaged for 66.5 minutes on average.

The Democratic debate was moderated by Lester Holt, anchor of NBC Nightly News and Dateline NBC, Chuck Todd, moderator of Meet the Press and NBC News political director, Hallie Jackson, NBC News chief White House correspondent and host of MSNBC Live, Vanessa Hauc, senior correspondent at Noticias Telemundo and Jon Ralston of The Nevada Independent.

Thursday’s debate from Las Vegas featured the following six candidates: former Vice President Joe Biden, former Mayor Mike Bloomberg (NYC), Mayor Pete Buttigieg (South Bend, IN), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN), Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA).


More Americans watch NBC News and MSNBC than any news organization in the world. NBC News’ award-winning television news broadcasts include TODAY, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, Meet the Press with Chuck Todd and Dateline NBC – all of which closed out 2019 at #1 in the key news demo for the fourth straight year. Additionally, NBC News produces Third Hour of TODAY, TODAY with Hoda and Jenna and Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist, as well as primetime specials and breaking news reports. MSNBC is the premier cable destination for breaking and live news coverage, in-depth analysis, and influential voices – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The rapidly-growing NBC News Digital Group, including its streaming news service NBC News NOW, along with the SiriusXM TODAY Show and MSNBC radio channels and NBC News Radio on the iHeartMedia 24/7 News Network, provides continuous content to consumers wherever they are, whenever they want it.

NBC News and MSNBC are part of the NBCUniversal News Group, a division of NBCUniversal, which is owned by Comcast Corporation.  For more information about NBCUniversal, please visit www.NBCUniversal.com.


NBC News contact:

Dana Klinghoffer/212-664-4088


MSNBC contact:

Lorie Acio/212-664-6733


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