© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Joe Biden’s State of the Union Address to a joint session of Congress is broadcasted to a television set up in a hallway at Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., February 7, 2023. REUTERS/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
By Helen Coster and Lisa Richwine
(Reuters) – An estimated 23.4 million people watched U.S. President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech on the biggest TV networks Tuesday, according to early ratings figures from Nielsen and shared with Reuters by Fox News and NBCUniversal, down from total viewership last year.
The early figure includes viewership on the biggest U.S. broadcast and cable networks, including Fox News, CNN, ABC News and NBC News.
Biden’s early audience figure came in below the final ratings total for former President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union speech in 2018, which attracted close to 46 million people. Biden’s March 2022 address to Congress attracted an estimated 38.2 million viewers across 16 channels.
Nielsen is expected to provide final ratings data later on Wednesday, which will include viewership across smaller networks.
In Tuesday’s 73-minute-long address, Biden, a Democrat, challenged Republicans to lift the U.S. debt ceiling and support tax policies that were friendlier to middle-class Americans.
Television audiences for live events have fallen sharply as audiences have gravitated to on-demand streaming services.