President’s First Press Conference Nets 30.8 Rating

(Feb. 11, 2009) NEW YORK:President Barack Obama’s first post-confirmation press conference drew more than 49 million viewers and logged a rating of 30.8, according to Nielsen. The Monday prime-time broadcast during was carried on ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Univision, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC.

By comparison, President Bill Clinton first prime-time news conference in 1993 pulled in, on average, 64.3 million viewers for a household rating of 42.1. Clinton’s speech focused on the economy and was carried by four networks.

President Bush’s post-911 news conference, held Oct. 11, 2001, was carried by seven networks at 8 p.m. EST. That telecast averaged 64.8 million viewers and garnered a rating of 42, representing the percentage of U.S. TV households that tuned in to the broadcast.

Nielsen noted that the average U.S. TV home received about 40 channels in 1993. The number had grown to 61 by 2000, and has reached 118 today.