Donald Trump was boasting late last week and at the weekend that his acceptance speech and the closing night of the Republican National Convention attracted more viewers than Hilary Clinton’s speech and the final night of the Democratic National Convention, which is true. But what our Donald didn’t mention is that President Barack Obama’s final night speech for the 2012 Democratic Convention was watched by 35.71 million viewers. According to, the numbers are 34.9 million for the Republicans and 33.3 million for the Democrats. The difference was accounted for by higher audiences for the right-wing Fox News at the Republican convention than the audiences the network attracted at the Democrats.

Trump also didn’t bother mentioning that more channels covered this year’s convention, but fell far short of the 38.9 million which watched the final night of the Republicans 2008 final night across the three free-to-air networks (NBC, ABC andCBS, plus CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, Univision and Telemundo). This year’s convention was broadcast on 10 channels: ABC, CBS, NBC, UNI, CNN, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNBC and NBC Universo. Trump conveniently missed this point, as did some Australian commentators at the weekend, including Insiders stand-in host Fran Kelly yesterday. The comparison to Obama’s speech was also missed.

And there was one other important measure that Trump didn’t canvass: advertising dollars. Here, Clinton and the Democrats did best. According to US data group, The Democratic National Convention’s pulled in US$25.8 million in total national advertising, with US$18.1 million spent on cable channels (such as CNN, which was the most watched, MSNBC and Fox). And US$7.7 million was spent on the free-to-air TV networks. iSpot said that some US$22.3 million was spent by advertisers on the Republican Convention — US$5.7 million with the broadcast networks and US$16.6 million on cable networks. Another example of don’t follow the hot air balloon, follow the money.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey