Debate Dominates Local Airwaves, Web

Boston Herald
10/03/2012
By Joe Dwinell and Joe Battenfeld

A stunning 338,000 viewers tuned into the UMass Lowell/Boston Herald U.S. Senate debate Monday night on Ch. 7, WHDH-TV, easily trouncing all the competition on the other stations.

The live-stream of the debate also generated more than 155,000 total streams and was viewed nationwide and in Canada, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Italy, France, South Africa and the Russian Federation, among other places.

“It’s just amazing. We’re delighted with the incredible viewership all over the world,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Martin T. Meehan, who added he was bombarded with calls from former colleagues in Congress about the debate.

Among all the TV viewers, the debate registered a 12.9 rating and 22 share on Channel 7, which translates into more than 305,000 viewers. Nearly one in four TV sets in the Boston market was tuned to the debate — and that’s not including NECN and C-SPAN, whose ratings weren’t available.

The audience for the debate grew steadily throughout the hour, peaking at a 14.3 rating and 23 share in the last 15 minutes. That’s 338,000 viewers.

The debate trounced the shows on at the same time, including “Wheel of Fortune,” “Jeopardy,” “Inside Edition” and “Chronicle.”

The debate also was the most-watched show in the 25-year-old to 54-year-old demographic, getting a 4.2 rating and 13 share, ratings reviewed by the Herald show.

The debate helped 7News win the all-important 11 p.m news competition. The station got a 2.3 rating at 11, while WCVB-TV Channel 5 was a distant second at 1.5 and WBZ-TV Channel 4 lagged behind with just a .9 rating.

The Associated Press, which pushed out the live-stream of the debate around the globe, saw its feed balloon to the most popular in New England where multiple news organizations posted the debate on their websites, according to Livestream, which logged Internet traffic for the AP.

Boston-area radio stations WBZ-AM and WRKO-AM also carried the debate.

The debate hashtag #maSenDebate was also trending nationally on Twitter Monday night at the height of the debate.