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Final presidential debate ratings down over 20% from first: Early Nielsen Data

Yahoo Finance's Alexandra Canal joins Zack Guzman to break down the ratings for the final presidental debate of 2020.

Video Transcript

ZACK GUZMAN: In today's "Fame and Fortune," I want to spotlight the early viewership numbers we got from last night's presidential debate, considering what we saw play out in the first one. I'm not sure what people were expecting, but it looks like fewer people tuned in regardless. And for more on that, I want to bring on Yahoo Finance's Alexandra Canal with the latest. Ali.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Yeah, so we are getting early data from Nielsen when it comes to the final ratings numbers on the last presidential debate of 2020. And according to that data, across CBS, NBC, and ABC, last night's debate amassed 21.4 million viewers. The debate also snagged a 4.8 rating among adults age 18 to 49.

But I do want to point out that when we compared this final debate to the first presidential debate that we saw on September 29, it's down over 21%. That final presidential debate-- oh, no, the first presidential debate, excuse me, got an average over 27 million viewers across NBC, ABC, CBS, and Fox.

Of course, last night's presidential debate did not air on Fox due to the fact that we had Thursday Night Football. But even if you take Fox out of the equation, last night's debate was still down about 6%. So I think people didn't know what to expect this time around. That first presidential debate, there was a lot going on. You could barely understand the candidates.

This one, there was more substance. I think the fear of the mute button convinced both candidates to just listen and not talk over one another. So that's a good thing. It was an important one for Americans to tune into.

I do want to single out a tweet that I saw last night. And this was from a flight from Detroit to Washington, DC, a Delta flight. You can see nearly all of the screens are tuned in to that debate. There was a lot of TV on last night. I mentioned Thursday Night Football. I'm an Eagles fan. It was Eagles-Giants, big rivalry. I was going between the two.

But I do think, again, that this is something that is going to be interesting leading up to the election. This was the final time that we're going to officially hear from both candidates. I think at this point, most people have their minds made up. I don't think there are too many voters undecided right now. But it'll be interesting to see what happens on November 3.

ZACK GUZMAN: I mean, yeah, you got to love pain, Ali, if you're flipping over to the dumpster fire that was the NFC East match-up.


ZACK GUZMAN: But when it comes to other things people can be watching out there, at least for people here in New York, options are reopening there when we talk about getting theaters back open with limited capacity. Talk to me about what you're seeing play out there 'cause I know AMC has been struggling with that, one of the biggest theater chains in the US.

ALEXANDRA CANAL: Yeah, so Governor Cuomo gave the green light for theaters to reopen outside the greater New York City region. Theater chains were ecstatic about this. This is a major market that they just have not been able to capitalize on.

Now the state of New York does have certain mandates that I want to tick through. In addition to these theaters being capped at 25% capacity, masks will be required at all times, except when seated and eating or drinking. Assigned seating will be required. There will be social distancing between parties. Additional staffing will be required to control occupancy and traffic. And then, finally, enhanced air filtration, ventilation, and purification standards must be met by theaters.

Now this is an important time for these reopenings to be happening. We've talked to several major players in the theater space, including the National Association of Theater Owners president. He did say that these theater chains need a bridge to help get them to 2021 to get them to a sense of profitability. A lot of the times, that is more stimulus, more funding.

Obviously, we do not have a deal on the table. There has been some optimistic rhetoric. But if there's no deal right now, that means that these entertainment and lifestyle sectors are going to hurt even more. You mentioned AMC. They had a really rough week this week. In regulatory filings released on Tuesday, we found out that they are trying to raise more cash in a last ditch effort to avoid bankruptcy.

According to those filings, they are planning to sell $15 million worth of class A shares in an offering valued at around $45 million. They also lowered their Q3 revenue guidance for this upcoming quarter. That's well below analysts' expectations. They said they expect that to come in at around $119 million. For comparison purposes, in 2019, their Q3 revenue was $1.3 billion. So that's nearly 90% less than what they've been expecting.

But hopefully, this New York opening is going to be a good first start. However, another major market that we really need to get into is New York City. These major cities are still shut down. And the longer that they remain shut down, the more difficult it is going to be for these theaters to recover.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah, just one last point, too, since you highlighted AMC there. $5.5 billion was the debt load that theater company had back in its last restructuring in July. So clearly, as you talk about revenue shortfalls there, no surprise why shares are down 60% on the year. But Ali Canal, I appreciate you bringing us that.