U.S. Election Coverage Draws Big U.K. Ratings

Donald Trump and Melania Trump -casts their votes on Election Day-Getty-H 2016
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The BBC attracted nearly twice the audience it had reached for its coverage of Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012.

U.K. networks' coverage of the U.S. presidential election drew strong ratings.

BBC One, the flagship network of the U.K. public broadcaster, attracted a Tuesday night audience for its coverage that was almost twice as big as that for Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012.

The first set of audience data reported focused on early ratings until 2 a.m. London time on Wednesday, meaning that early morning ratings for when the final result was announced weren't immediately included.

BBC One's Election Night in America, which started at 11:15 p.m., averaged 1.1 million viewers until 2 a.m., or a share of 23.2 percent of people watching TV at the time. It peaked with 1.6 million viewers.

The network's coverage of the 2012 race, which started a bit later, had averaged 660,000 viewers, or a 15.3 percent share, peaking with 879,000. The performance also beat BBC One's average audience in that time slot over the past 12 months, which amounts to 523,000 viewers.

ITV, meanwhile, aired an election special titled Trump v Clinton: The Result in the 10:45 p.m. time slot. It averaged 530,000 viewers, or a share of 8.9 percent, and peaked with 1.2 million. That also exceeded the one-year slot average and the 2012 coverage, which had averaged 197,000 viewers and peaked with 368,000.

Looking at U.K. news networks, BBC News 24 averaged 325,000 viewers and Sky News reached 226,000.

Tweeted overnights.tv: "#USElection2016 had a UK 1-min reach across BBC, ITV and Sky News, of 10.8m/18.3% up to 2am."

U.K. networks also have set post-election specials. Sky News on Wednesday aired How Trump Won the White House, a documentary on "how a bitterly divisive candidate rode to victory in a vote against established politics and economic globalization."

BBC One Wednesday evening aired a special called Who's Won the White House? Plus, the network's popular news magazine Panorama on Monday will air the episode "Trump's New America."