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Another Look at the State of the Union Address: 27% Turned Away After First 5 Minutes

Kantar Media studied the tuning behavior of 100,000 households across the United States in the moments leading up to, during, and after President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night. Kantar, which monitors the media for global clients, examined eight networks that aired the speech live — ABC, Bloomberg, CBS, CNN, FOX, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, and NBC.

Kantar used second-by-second audience data gleaned from set-top boxes connected to TV sets from 9pm – 10:30pm. It found:

  • In the first five minutes, 27% of the audience tuned away.
  • The networks that benefited the most from the initial tune-away were TBS, USA, and ESPN
  • CBS and FOX showed sharp losses in viewers at the top of the program, while ABC and NBC showed noticeable gains.
  • Tune-away was gradual as the speech progressed. No individual topics drove significant audience loss.
  • After the speech, Fox News Channel quickly gained viewers, becoming the second-most watched network after NBC. This gain presumably was in anticipation of the Republican response (seen in the second graph after the jump).

As we reported yesterday, 37.8 million watched the president’s address across 14 networks. Read on for the minute-by-minute analysis…

State of the Union Audience Analysis 2012

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