American politics is “event viewing” now. Here’s a Nielsen chart that proves it.

Remember when your local bar held all those “presidential debate parties” in the lead-up to the 2016 election? They were onto something. New data from Nielsen indicates that people are watching a good amount of news programming on TV screens in public areas like bars, hotels, gyms, and airports. It’s a category Nielsen calls “out-of-home viewing” and, practically speaking, it’s just another area marketers can point to when they’re trying to prove their TV commercials are still holding people’s attention.

Nielsen analyzed out-of-home viewing from January-May 2017, and found that news programing was the second most-watched genre, with viewers spending an additional 2 hours and 2 minutes watching news programing outside of their homes. Only sports was a bigger category, which makes sense when you think that bars and gyms account for a lot of these screens. As an example of a recent news event that saw a notable out-of-home boost, Nielsen cited James Comey’s Senate testimony, whose broadcast ratings jumped 11% when out-of-home was factored in.

Politics, like misery, loves company.

[Image: Nielsen]