On Monday February 9, 2009 President Barack Obama held his first prime time news conference. The conference was telecast live from 8 to 9PM on 8 networks achieving a combined 30.8 household rating with 49,455,133 viewers. The networks were ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Univision, CNN, Fox News Channel and MSNBC.
Just weeks after his inauguration in 1993 President Bill Clinton also held a prime time news conference. That event focused on the economy and was carried by 4 networks on February 15, 1993. The sum of the audience of those networks was a 42.1 household rating with 64,300,000 viewers on average.
On October 11, 2001, exactly a month after the attacks of September 11, President Bush held a prime time news conference that was carried by 7 networks. The sum of those networks' audience from approximately 8-8:45PM was a 42.0 household rating with 64,813,000 viewers.
In 1993 the average U.S. TV home had approximately 40 channels available. By 2000 the average home had 61 channels and now that figure has increased to more than 118 channels available.