As pundits weigh the winners and losers of Tuesday’s Republican debate. Host Fox Business Network was certainly one of the winners. The moderators– FBN’s Maria Bartiromo, Neil Cavuto, and the Wall Street Journal’s Gerald Baker– were all praised for their questioning of the candidates. Now, the network has found a quantified win in its ratings.
The primetime debate garnered 13.5 million total viewers and 3.7 million in the advertiser-friendly 25-54 demo. While this is down from CNBC’s debate and continues the downward pattern for GOP debate ratings, it was Fox Business’s highest rated night. Fox Business Network was started eight years ago to compete mainly against CNBC, but has struggled to overtake the financial network.
One of Fox Business Network’s largest problems is its relative lack of carriage and its irrelevancy. Many took to Twitter in an attempt to find where FBN was on their television and FBN tweeted a graphic that helped viewers on how to watch the debate. 63.8% of American televisions receive Fox Business Network, compared to 81.4% for Fox News. HLN is the most carried cable channel, reaching 82.8% of households with televisions.
Like other networks, FBN did live-stream its debate and opened it to people who otherwise do not receive the network. At its peak, 1.4 million people were tuned into the live stream, a higher number than NBC’s Super Bowl live stream.
The undercard debate, which featured two candidates previously in the primetime debate, brought in 4.7 million viewers and 866,000 viewers in the 25-54 demo. The undercard debate also started at 7 PM, as opposed to 6 PM as other networks had done.