- The Washington Times - Monday, January 23, 2017

Ronald Reagan still holds the record for drawing the largest inaugural TV audience in history: 42 million viewers watched his 1981 inauguration, and this was before the advent of cable news channels. This time around, Nielsen Media Research reports that President Trump’s inauguration drew 31 million viewers across a dozen U.S. broadcast and cable networks on Friday. The measurement does not include viewers watching overseas networks.

In comparison, President Obama attracted 20.5 million viewers for his 2013 inauguration and a hefty 38 million in 2009. George W. Bush garnered 29 million viewers in 2001, 15.5 million in 2005 while Bill Clinton drew 29.7 million in 1993 and 21.7 million in 1997.

The Fox News Channel triumphed with their coverage of Mr. Trump’s inauguration, besting rival cable news channels, CNN and MSNBC — plus the “big three” networks ABC, NBC, CBS.

Fox News peaked with 11 million viewers when Mr. Trump took his oath of office at high noon, and average 8.8 million viewers during the many hours of coverage that followed. It was also a good day for the Fox Business Network, which averaged 523,000 viewers compared to 305,000 who tuned in to watch rival network CNBC.

Mr. Trump’s inauguration is a record-breaker for live online video streaming to phones, computers and digital devices — significant in an age of constantly evolving hybrid media and consumer behaviors.

Akamai Technologies — which provides delivery of video content to major news organizations, corporations, retailers and organizations around the world — has this to report: “Video streaming coverage of the 2017 Presidential Inauguration is the largest single live news event that the company has delivered,” calling the event “a new benchmark for live video traffic” which bested such events as the Rio Olympics and the 2016 Euro soccer tournament.

Their measurements are precise. The coverage reached a peak of 8.7 terabytes per second at 12:04 p.m. ET during the opening of the President’s speech, exceeding the previous record of 7.5 terabytes — Tbps — set during Election Day coverage in November. In terms of an audience, the inauguration  measurement translates into 4.6 million people watching the streaming coverage — about what ABC and CBS garnered during the same time period.

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