By Helen Coster
Aug 18 (Reuters) - A total of 19.7 million people watched the first night of the virtual Democratic National Convention on 10 U.S. TV networks on Monday, down from the 26 million who watched the opening night of the convention in 2016, according to final Nielsen figures.
The convention, originally scheduled for Milwaukee, is being held virtually for the first time because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Speakers are appearing live from locations across the country and in prerecorded videos.
Former first lady Michelle Obama and Senator Bernie Sanders, a former presidential contender, were among the key speakers rallying support for presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden and his running mate, Senator Kamala Harris.
Obama and Sanders also spoke on the first night of the 2016 convention, which nominated Hillary Clinton for president.
Monday's ratings represented people watching across 10 broadcast and cable networks from about 10 p.m. EDT to 11:15 p.m. EDT. They did not include online and streaming viewers.
The Biden campaign said on Tuesday that 28.9 million Americans watched the convention across TV and digital platforms, including 10.2 million digital streams, up from nearly 3 million digital streams in 2016.
(Reporting by Helen Coster; Additional reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Tom Brown and Peter Cooney)
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