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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 3, 2017 - Volume 45 Issue 09
Trump speech flops at the box office
Section One
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Trump speech flops at the box office

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Although Donald Trump's first speech to a joint session of Congress got 'great reviews' from pundits - at least according to CNN's Wolf Blitzer - it flopped according the Nielsen ratings.

The TV ratings service, which measures the percentage of the viewing audience captured by a particular show, released figures for Trump's February 28 speech the next day.

According to Nielsen, Trump got 27.8% of the viewing audience, with seven networks carrying his speech live: ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC.

By contrast, Barack Obama's first address to Congress in 2009 captured a 33.4% share. That translates into an audience of more than 52 million viewers. George W. Bush's first speech to Congress got about 40 million viewers.

TV ratings aren't the only area where Trump is a flop.

According to New York City marketing officials, the number of foreign visitors to the city is expected to drop by more than 300,000 this year - a decline they attribute to Trump's anti-foreigner rhetoric.

Fred Dixon, the chief executive of the New York marketing firm NYC & Company, said Trump's bellicose statements had changed foreign perceptions about the hospitality of the United States just as prospective tourists are making vacation plans for 2017.

'The Europeans start coming to New York around Easter and continue through summer,' Dixon said in an interview with the New York Times. 'That's when you'll see the rhetoric out of Washington really having an impact on travel.'

Tourism promoters were 'just sort of holding our breath,' awaiting revision of Trump's Muslim travel ban, Dixon added.

'Regardless of the specifics, it's pretty clear the message is going to be unwelcoming,' he said.

The decline in visitors will cost New York City $600 million in sales, Dixon's agency estimates.

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