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Nearly 48 Million Americans Watch Pres. Donald Trump’s First Address to Congress
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Nearly 48 Million Americans Watch Pres. Donald Trump’s First Address to Congress

An estimated 48 million people tuned in to watch Donald Trump’s first address to a Joint Session of Congress (the traditional first-term equivalent of the State of the Union) in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017.

While coverage varied by network, 11 aired live coverage from approximately 9:00 p.m. ET to 10:15 p.m. ET.

In terms of the social nature of the address, the most-Tweeted minute of the night was at 10:04 p.m. ET when 21,000 Twitter interactions occurred after the audience applauded the widow of a fallen Navy SEAL.

The chart below highlights the sum of the average audience for these networks.

2017 First Address to Joint Session of Congress

Sum of Networks Live + Same Day
  Feb. 28, 2017
  Rating Number of Viewers
All Households 28.7 33,857,000
Persons 2+ 15.9 47,741,000
Persons 18-34 6.5 4,594,000
Persons 35-54 15.4 12,392,000
Persons 55+ 31.9 28,307,000
Source: Nielsen, NNTV, Summary file for Presidential address 02/28/17 based on program average for Broadcast and originator with strict daypart averages for common coverage times for cable (9:00 pm-10:15 pm)

2017 Networks Included: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, UNI, PBS, CNN, Fox Business Net, FOXNC, MSNBC, and NBC Universo

Historical First Presidential Address to JSOC Coverage

Date HH Rating (% of U.S. TV Households Tuned) No. of Households No. of Persons 2+ President
2/24/2009 32.5 37,185,000 52,373,000 Barack Obama
2/27/2001 27.6 28,201,000 39,793,000 George W. Bush
2/17/1993 44.3 41,200,000 66,900,000 Bill Clinton
Note: 2/17/93, 2/27/01 and 2/24/09 officially the “Address to the Joint Sessions of Congress”

2009 Networks Included: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, TEL, UNI, CNBC, CNN, FOXNC, and MSNBC 
2001 Networks Included: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, CNN, FOXNC, and MSNBC 
1993 Networks Included: ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN