The swearing-in of the 45th president was seen by 30.6 million viewers across 12 networks.
The only inauguration over the last three decades that tops Trump’s number in the linear ratings? Barack Obama’s first inauguration back in 2009, which had a record-setting 37.8 million viewers.
Before that, you’d have to go all the way back to Ronald Reagan in 1981, who was seen by 41.8 million viewers (Nielsen tracks inauguration ratings back to 1969).
The numbers are all the more remarkable considering Trump is entering into office with rather low approval ratings compared to past presidents and sparked protests worldwide along with vows to not watch his inauguration.
And actually, Trump might have been seen by more viewers than either Obama or Reagan. Nielsen ratings do not account for online viewing, which has grown sharply in recent years and is far more commonplace than even four years ago. CNN, for example, clocked 16.9 million streams on its website, tying with Election Day for the site’s top event.
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Fox News topped all networks with its coverage, averaging 8.8 million viewers for the day and peaking with 11 million viewers from noon to 1 p.m. This was the highest-rated inauguration coverage in the network’s history. While on broadcast, NBC was first with 5.8 million viewers for the day.