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TV debates: the story so far

Audience data from GfK and Marktest/MediaMonitor shows that over 8 million viewers watched the TV debates for the March 10 elections

© José Fernandes

Over 8 million viewers watched the first 14 leaders debates of the March 10 elections. This is the approximate figure when you add up all the audience figures for the broadcasts and rebroadcasts of the debates, since it's normal for the news channels to broadcast simultaneously.

1.5 million viewers watched Pedro Nuno Santos (PS) clash with André Ventura (CH) in a fierce pre-election TV debate on Wednesday night - the most watched so far.

The debate between Mariana Mortágua, coordinator of the Bloco de Esquerda (BE), and Luís Montenegro, leader of the Aliança Democrática (AD), on February 6, was the second most watched so far: it had an average of 1.096 million viewers on TVI, plus the 166.3 who followed the duel on CNN Portugal, according to GfK data analysed by Marktest/MediaMonitor. On TVI it had a share of 20.8 per cent, which means that a fifth of the people watching television in that time slot followed the debate.

Next comes the debate between Socialist leader Pedro Nuno Santos and Liberal leader Rui Rocha, whcih was watched by 1.218 million viewers, 1.209 of them on the free-to-air channel.

The third most watched debate was the one between Social Democrat president Luís Montenegro and PAN leader Inês Sousa Real, broadcast on SIC this Sunday and followed on the channel by 863,000 viewers, plus 63,000 on SIC Notícias (and 10,000 on the RTP3 rebroadcast).

As for the three most watched debates on the so-called cable news channels, Chega is on all of them. The debate between André Ventura and IL leader Rui Rocha on SIC Notícias on February 6 had the biggest audience, with 327,000 viewers.

The second most watched debate between André Ventura and PCP secretary-general Paulo Raimundo, on CNN Portugal on February 9, was followed by an average of 204,000 viewers on this channel and 14,000 more on the rebroadcast on RTP3. The third was André Ventura and Inês de Sousa Real on RTP3 on the 5th, which was watched by 178,000 people.

The debates for the January 2022 legislative elections were watched by a total of 20 million viewers, including the 3.334 million who followed the duel between António Costa and Rui Rio on the three free-to-air channels.

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