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Photo Illustration: Pavlo Conchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

63 million viewers tuned into the final debate between President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday evening, according to Nielsen ratings. The event drew 13% fewer viewers than the first presidential debate in late September.

Why it matters: The more measured matchup may have proven to be less exciting than the chaotic first debate.

Yes, but: Final debates historically draw smaller audiences than first debates. And the final debate this cycle still did well compared to previous final matchups.

  • For example, the final presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in 2012 drew 59.2 million viewers, and the third debate between Obama and Sen. John McCain in 2008 drew 56.5 million viewers.

Details: Fox News Channel drew the most viewers this Thursday, followed by ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC and CBS.

  • Viewership was highest between 9:30 p.m. and 9:45 p.m., when the candidates were discussing foreign policy and health care, according to an analysis from MiQ, a marketing intelligence firm.
  • While coverage varied by network, 15 networks aired live coverage from approximately 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET, per Nielsen.

Be smart: The matchup was the second time the two candidates faced off this year, after the second debate, scheduled for October 15, was canceled after Trump said he would not participate virtually.

  • The highest-rated final debate measured in history occurred during the 2016 campaign, when more than 71 million people tuned in to watch Hillary Clinton debate Trump days before the now-president's historic and unexpected victory.

Between the lines: Nielsen ratings measure television viewership on broadcast and cable, as well as out-of-home TV viewership in places like bars and restaurants, and connected TV (CTV) viewership on digital platforms like Sling TV.

  • There's no way of measuring exactly how many people streamed the debate online or watched clips on social media, but millions more Americans presumably tuned in using other digital channels.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Jan 26, 2021 - Economy & Business

Pay TV's bleak post-pandemic outlook

Data: eMarketer; Chart: Axios Visuals

The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the Pay-TV industry, and with the near-term future of live sports in question, there are no signs of it getting better in 2021.

Why it matters: The fraught Pay-TV landscape is forcing some smaller, niche cable channels out of business altogether.

In photos: Protesters rally for George Floyd ahead of Derek Chauvin's trial

Chaz Neal, a Redwing community activist, outside the Minnesota Governor's residence during a protest in support of George Floyd in St.Paul, Minnesota, on March 6. Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images

Dozens of protesters were rallying outside the Minnesota governor's mansion in St Paul Saturday, urging justice for George Floyd ahead of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin's trial over the 46-year-old's death.

The big picture: Chauvin faces charges for second-degree murder and manslaughter over Floyd's death last May, which ignited massive nationwide and global protests against racism and for police reform. His trial is due to start this Monday, with jury selection procedures.