In blood sports news, more than 1.08 million Australians watched the first debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden on free-to-air and pay TV. The ABC led with 305,000, then Nine with 235,000 and Seven with 204,000. Around 88,000 people watched on SBS. There’s no accurate comparison with 2016 figures in Australia, but metro-only figures from that year show that around 560,000 watched on Seven, the ABC and SBS.
Meanwhile, 73 million TV viewers tuned in across 16 channels in the US according to Nielsen.
The total fell 13% short of the gangbuster ratings for the first presidential debate in 2016, when an estimated 84 million watched. Neither figure includes people who watched the debate on streaming video (either directly from the source or from TV networks), tuned in on radio or watched the debate in hotel rooms, bars and other venues. Nielsen's figures include people who watched via internet-connected TV sets, but not people who streamed the event on other devices.