The first night of the Democratic National Convention drew about 19.7 million viewers on American television, a significant drop-off from four years ago, according to data released Tuesday by the measurement company Nielsen.
The virtual convention, lacking the real-world buzz of typical events, kicked off Monday with Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and former first lady Michelle Obama as the headliners. It included a combination of recorded and live events, all of them done remotely. Parts of the convention were carried on the major broadcast networks, and most of it was shown on cable news channels.
But the total audience fell below the 26 million people who watched the first night of the 2016 Democratic National Convention — a 24 percent decline.
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The drop-off may have been eased by a growing digital audience that has embraced watching events over the internet. TJ Ducklo, national press secretary for Joe Biden's presidential campaign, tweeted Tuesday that the event drew a total of 28.9 million viewers, with 10.2 million internet streams making up for the TV drop-off.
MSNBC said in a news release that it led all broadcast and cable channels in total viewers for the prime-time hours of Monday night's convention, with 4.3 million viewers from 8 to 11 p.m. ET. CNN attracted 4.1 million viewers, and Fox News drew 3.4 million.
MSNBC is owned by NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.