Democratic convention closing night draws event's biggest TV audience

Former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden accepts the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination during a speech delivered for the largely virtual 2020 Democratic National Convention from the Chase Center in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., August 20, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The closing night of the virtual Democratic National Convention attracted roughly 24.6 million primetime television viewers, the largest audience of the week, according to data from the Nielsen ratings agency.

The number covers viewership across 10 broadcast and cable networks from 10 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. Eastern time. It does not include people who watched via online platforms.

Thursday’s proceedings concluded with Joe Biden accepting the Democratic Party’s nomination for president in a speech delivered live from his home state of Delaware.

TV viewership was 17% lower than the night in 2016 when Hillary Clinton spoke as the party’s first female presidential nominee. But the figures do not include online platforms that have jumped in popularity in the past four years as traditional TV viewership has declined.

Biden’s campaign estimated there were an additional 35.5 million live streams over the convention’s four days via websites and through digital platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. The statement did not say for how long each viewer streamed the event.

Democrats canceled plans to convene delegates and party leaders in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, they staged a virtual event with celebrity moderators introducing live and recorded remarks from around the country.

The TV audience rose on each night of the event, with Monday’s kickoff drawing 19.8 million viewers, Nielsen said.

The Republican nominating convention for President Donald Trump is next week.

Reporting by Lisa Richwine; editing by Sonya Hepinstall and Grant McCool