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2024 State of the Union Draws 32.2 Million Viewers, Up 18% From Last Year

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President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address on Thursday brought in 32.2 million viewers, according to Nielsen.

The figure marks an 18% increase from last year’s 27.3 million viewers and the second-largest audience since the 38.2 million viewers who watched his first address to a Joint Session of Congress in 2021. (A president’s first address to a joint session isn’t considered an official State of the Union, as it’s customary to wait a full year into a term before the president is officially in a position to report on the state of the nation.)

The figure takes into account viewership across 14 networks, including ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, PBS, CNN, CNNe, Fox Business, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, Newsmax and NewsNation.

Nielsen said 5% of the total was comprised of viewers who were 18-34, compared to 19% aged 35-54 and 74% aged 55 and older. Viewers were split between 56% who watched the coverage on broadcast networks, while 44% watched on cable.

On broadcast TV, ABC’s telecast of the “State of the Union” brought in the largest audience among the major broadcasters with 5.24 million total viewers, ahead of NBC’s audience of 4.47 million viewers. CBS came next with 4.09 million viewers, while Fox had the smallest audience among the big four broadcasters with 1.77 million viewers.

NBC, on the other hand, scored the highest ratings for the event among adults 18-49, with a 0.69 rating among the key broadcast demo, narrowly beating the 0.68 rating brought in by ABC. CBS similarly scored the third highest rating with a 0.49 rating, with Fox following in last place with a 0.30 rating.

During the speech, Biden zeroed in on the economy, the war in Ukraine and the border. He also pledged to “restore” Roe v. Wade.

Nielsen’s measurement was from the timeframe of approximately 9:26 p.m. to 10:33 p.m. ET.

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