Wednesday, February 5, 2014

How Much Did a Blowout Hurt the Super Bowl Ratings?


As a sporting event gets out of hand, people look for other things to talk about. When the sporting event is as culturally important as the Super Bowl, one of those things is often the TV ratings. On Sunday, plenty of people on social media said things like, "The ratings for this game are going to tank like craaaaazy" as the Seahawks completely salted away Super Bowl XLVIII early in the second half.

The next day, the numbers were in. And... the Super Bowl set another all-time viewing record.

So what happened here? Do the ratings tank a lot less in a blowout than we think? Or was this just such an overwhelmingly strong matchup that the record was set even in the face of a major second half tank-job? Let's investigate the half-hour breakdowns, comparing them with the previous three games (all very competitive to the end).

 

The blowout effect is definitely noticeable. The Bowl was tied with the the 2012 game's 18-49 number at 7:00, and actually had a narrow lead over all three games at 7:30. But the game had already fallen at least a half point behind 2012 in the 8:00 hour, and then they really headed in different directions at 9:00. 2014 went 2.6 points behind at 9:00, and a whooping 5.1 behind at 9:30.

But how much does this mean in terms of the full game average? The 2014 Super Bowl started on the 2012 pace and end up averaging a 39.3, down by 3% vs. 2012's 40.5. So the classic game and the blowout game with identical initial interest finished... just three percent apart (or 1.2 points). Just 7% of the 18-49 eyeballs bailed from 8:30 to 9:30.

Certainly, this is not how advertisers would prefer it, and the effect can be more like double digits for a two-minute warning ad like "Puppy Love." But it's far from the catastrophe that social media likes to make it out to be. On the whole, it probably still did better than a bad matchup/good game would have.

The blowout probably has a bigger impact in the record books trivia, where 3% can feel like a huge deal. For a matchup heavily favored to break viewership records as this one was, that may not be the difference between record/no-record. But it could be the difference between ekeing out a record and shattering one. The 112.19 million viewers beat 2012's 111.35m record by 840,000 viewers; but tack on that extra three percent with a classic game and you're looking at 115-116 mill, over four million above the previous high!

21 comments:

Spot said...

I'm not sure if the Blacklist is just holding up really well or got lucky enough to air that last 2.5 in a ridiculously high viewed Monday night.

Spot said...

I see the logic for the temporary move of TBBT to Mondays (possibly being replaced in November by Mike and Molly on Mondays) but I just find it a very un-CBS thing to do. Nina Tassler has publicly criticized networks for moving shows within the same season, so to have that move planned right away seems odd.

As for Elementary, I think this increases its chances of staying steady, because they need to throw something to that 10pm slot and I am not sure they will be keen on premiering something new in November there (especially because there is a chance the 9pm hour itself will be new). I am not sure why you would think Elementary would be able to fix the Monday 10pm slot. It was hitting 1.6s in the fall against Scandal+Parenthood out of mid 2s from Two and a Half Men (although they are probably extremely incompatible). Why would it fare any better against Monday Night Football+Whatever Voice-fueled show NBC has pulling 3s+Castle, out of a lower rated, and still incompatible, Mom (assuming it remains there)? Elementary is not a stronger show than H50 was last year (the fact that H50 is practically tying it on Fridays even when Elementary has absolutely NO competition) kind of proves that and H50 could barely survive in the Monday 10pm slot last year.

IMO, CBS is getting ready to move Criminal Minds to the slot. The fact that they are airing a new drama in its usual slot in the summer is an indication that it could happen (last year, Under the Dome was slotted in the Mondays at 10pm slot from which H50 would later move)

Spot said...

A lot has changed in 8 years, Shade. Netflix was still disc only then. Hulu hadn't even started yet. DVR penetration was at 10-15%, according to Nielsen. Now Netflix's streaming uses more bandwidth than anyone, Hulu is up to $1 billion in revenue and is still growing, and DVR penetration has gone up to 46%.

Spot said...

This is unique situation. NFL package affects ONLY FIRST 6 weeks of the season, there's 30 or so more weeks of season after it. That has nothing to do with Tassler speaking about completely different situation.
As for the reasons of moving TBBT around schedule, please read my original comment. Hint: part about the anchors.

Idea with moving Criminal Minds is absurd, they won't change Wednesday schedule now. Changes on Monday were must from before, and with this news CBS now has to change Thursday schedule too. Plus probably there will be new show at Tuesday 9PM. Now, to mess with fourth weeknight, BTW one where there's nothing broken to be fixed - that would be extremely un-CBSish.

Spot said...

Every year, we think there'll be a new Tu @ 9, and every year NCIS: LA lands in exactly the same place.

Spot said...

I thought it was 8 weeks, not 6? But I am not too familiar with the sports dynamics, so I can believe you if you say so. Maybe CBS does a Special Preview or two of TBBT on Monday then to launch new comedies there ,but I doubt they will officially move the show there for 6 or 8 weeks or whatever it is.

In regards to moving CM, I also don't see very well the reason to do so, I am just saying it's likely based on their summer schedule. In my opinion, they should move Survivor instead and launch something at 8pm, which is wide open (and Survivor would fit well on Sundays anyway). However, your argumentation couldn't be more flawed... You argue that CBS should not fix what isn't broken, yet you seem to believe that they will change their highest rated night (Tuesdays). I also do think that CBS should move LA to Mondays at 10 and launch a second new drama Tuesdays at 9 but I also happen to agree with CarShark... Every year we think CBS will move LA and it has never happened.

Spot said...

True. But one can hardly deny that Grey's got boosted big-time by the Super Bowl, and that didn't really peter out until creative issues started catching up to the show.

Spot said...

It's 8 weeks, but two are before the TV season starts. So only 6 for these purposes.

Spot said...

Ah got it. Thank you!

Spot said...

Making a mid-fall move seems too...out there...for CBS. I think it's either Mondays or Thursdays for the full season. Depends on whether they want fewer repeats or better Monday numbers.

Spot said...

You're right. But now they have 88 episodes of NCIS:LA in da pocket. And late-November experiment was quite a success, with no mothership lead-in LA got 2.4. Plus they failed miserable with launching dramas on both Mondays and Fridays.
If it was only one of above, I'd have to agree with you. But as it is, I see them giving new drams best possible lead-ins this time:
new dramas at Tue 9 MP and Wed 10 PM, CSI to Sunday instead of cancelled Mentalist.

Spot said...

Nothing is broken, really? Their launch of new drama shows is broken. They tried and failed Tue 10 PM, Fri 9 PM and Mon 10 PM. Had mild some success only on Thursday. By giving NCIS lead-in to a new drama, there's chance to successfully launch new show, see Intelligence preview numbers. And/or by CM leading into new drama. At Monday 10 PM Criminal Minds would lead into local news. Yeah, they'll surely do it.

If they move Survivor, I agree they would move it to Sunday. As there's simple no other good timeslot for it. But that time is yet to come. Survivor is still doing better than all of their dramas except for, I think, only NCIS and CM. And it comes on a production cost that is, probably, less than half what costs their typical drama.

Spot said...

Really don't see them pushing their highest rated show back, especially after how hot it started. CBS has a weakening Monday with the only other anchor-worthy show going off the air in two months. 2 Broke Girls and Mike & Molly holding up hours against The Voice could be painful to watch. On the other side, they have a Thursday line-up that just hasn't gelled. BBT gets 5s, Millers mid-to-high 2s, Everyone else high-1s to low-2s. Is that really worth keeping over a decent NFL game? Next fall, CBS Monday will be 2BG/New Comedy/TBBT/New Comedy, while Thursday will be a mix of unscripted shows and short-run programming, with a vet moving to 9 PM to anchor things.

Spot said...

Normally, yes, too off. But this is not normal situation.

Wouldn't premiering their strongest show in November also be too ... out there ... for CBS? And what else can anchor Monday night? Broke Girls that couldn't even anchor hour? Even weaker Mike & Molly.? Or they will risk with How I Met Your Dad at 8 PM - yeah, that would be so CBSish. CBS would kill two birds with one stone by moving TBBT to Monday in September.

They leave it at Monday for entire season? I give you that, that's possible. Initially I didn't realize it.

Spot said...

Other big news! NBC put Michael J. Fox out of his misery!

Spot said...

Turned out to be only the one!

Spot said...

I could see them going yet another direction - cut the fourth comedy hour, keep TBBT/something to November, and launch their highest-testing new drama at 9. This would allow them to give it 22 episodes with relatively few repeats *and* an NFL-fuelled, premiere-week-dodging launch. If it's a serial, it'd be an especially good way to launch it. And we know CBS is prepared to do something like this, because (sans NFL wrinkle) it's what they did with POI.

With The Crazy Ones a misfit with multis and 2.5 Men in a situation matching that of many a "shock" veteran cancellation, not to mention CBS TV Studios owning neither, the possibility is there. Is the new drama?

Spot said...

Is it always going to be two weeks? I know that kickoff night is the Thursday after Labor Day, but is Premiere Monday always three weeks after Labor Day? Just wondered, as Labor Day falls on the 1st this year (was the 2nd last year) but all the way out on the 7th next year (taking the NFL regular season into January).

Spot said...

TAR/Survivor/TGW would be a very reasonable Sunday lineup, two hours of compatible programming then TGW gets away from the worst of the cable crush. (I'd also suggest this to be an announced final season, as the syndication money in the future is coming from the Amazon deal, and streaming syndication benefits from a defined series ending.)

They could even have TBBT lead off Wednesdays if they don't want to shunt or delay it for TNF; it wouldn't blink against The Middle, and it's already used to beating up on Idol.

Spot said...

I dunno for sure, but it looks to me like in that case it'd affect seven weeks in 2015. I can't see premiere Monday being anything other than the 21st.

Spot said...

Looking up 2009, the last year with the same calendar as 2015... yup, Premiere Monday was the 21st, so that would be seven in-season weeks of TNF in 2015.

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