Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

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

Mike Allen, author of AM
Nov 12, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Scoop: Trump eyes digital media empire to take on Fox News

Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

President Trump has told friends he wants to start a digital media company to clobber Fox News and undermine the conservative-friendly network, sources tell Axios.

The state of play: Some Trump advisers think Fox News made a mistake with an early call (seconded by AP) of President-elect Biden's win in Arizona. That enraged Trump, and gave him something tangible to use in his attacks on the network.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

Former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes on the Senate runoffs

The future of U.S. politics, and all that flows from it, is in the hands of Georgia voters when they vote in two Senate runoffs on January 5.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the election dynamics with former Georgia Gov. Roy Barnes, a Democrat who served between 1999 and 2003.

2 hours ago - Health

Cuomo orders emergency hospital protocols as COVID capacity dwindles

Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Photo: Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that struggling state hospital systems must transfer patients to sites that are not nearing capacity, as rising coronavirus cases and hospitalizations strain medical resources.

Why it matters: New York does not expect to get the same kind of help from thousands of out-of-state doctors and nurses that it got this spring, Cuomo acknowledged, as most of the country battles skyrocketing COVID hospitalizations and infections.