SBD/December 7, 2011/Media

Fox' Packers-Giants Marks NFL's Highest-Rated Regular-Season Game Since '07

Packers-Giants is highest-rated regular-season game for Fox since '06

Fox earned a 17.6 final rating and 29.8 million viewers for its NFL national window on Sunday, which featured the Packers improving to 12-0 with a last-second victory over the Giants, marking the highest-rated regular-season broadcast on any net since CBS’ Week 14 national window in ’07. That telecast earned an 18.4 rating (30.3 million viewers) for a window which featured the Patriots remaining undefeated against the Steelers. However, viewership for Fox' national window, which showed Packers-Giants in 77% of markets, finished below the Thanksgiving Day game audiences for both CBS (30.9 million viewers) and Fox (30.2 million viewers) this season. Those games were aired nationally. The Week 14 national window also marked Fox’ highest-rated regular-season broadcast since a 17.8 rating (27.6 million viewers) for a telecast featuring Cowboys-Giants in ’06. Meanwhile, NBC earned an 11.5 rating and 18.9 million viewers for the Lions-Saints “SNF” telecast, down 14% and 16%, respectively, from a 13.4 rating and 22.5 million viewers for Steelers-Ravens in Week 13 last year. ESPN finished with a 6.1 U.S. rating and 9.5 million viewers for the Chargers-Jaguars “MNF” telecast, marking the second-smallest “MNF” audience this season, just ahead of the other Jaguars' Oct. 24 "MNF" game against the Ravens (6.1 rating, 9.3 million viewers). Chargers-Jaguars is also down 39% and 43%, respectively, from a 10.0 rating and 16.5 million viewers for Jets-Patriots in Week 13 last year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

MOONVES, BEWKES TALK NFL: ADWEEK's Anthony Crupi reported CBS President & CEO Les Moonves during yesterday's UBS Global Media and Communications Conference said that the network "hopes to be in business with the NFL for a long time to come, though he stopped short of confirming that a new deal was in the works." Moonves said, "The NFL is an unbelievable property. You see it in the ratings: Even a bad football game out-rates most programming. So, we love our relationship with the NFL." However, with reports that rights fees for NFL games will increase more than 60% with the new TV deals, Moonves "acknowledged that CBS will have to ante up if and when it renews its current eight-year deal, which expires in 2013." He said, "We're aware that when a new deal gets made the price of poker is going up -- and it should go up." Meanwhile, Crupi reported Time Warner Chair & CEO Jeff Bewkes "pump-faked his way through a question about his company's interest in a proposed eight-game Thursday night package." Bewkes: "We don't think if we were to do something like that that we would do it with a plan to losing any money, so the question of whether that would fit with what the NFL wants to do and our desire to make money would be an open question." He added that while he is not "ruling anything out, the pressure a mega-million NFL contract would place on Turner's affiliates could be a deal-breaker" (ADWEEK.com, 12/6).

ESCALATING COSTS: Bloomberg TV’s Betty Liu said there is “frustration growing within the media business over the rising cost of sports programming," even causing some "backlash from some of the media companies which are afraid that customers will drop services as prices escalate.” Horizon Media Dir of Research Brad Adgate said ESPN charges "far and away more than any other cable network,” and the net claims to have the largest audience. Adgate: “The flip side of that is the average home has 150, 200 channels and maybe they watch 15% of them. So you have all sorts of users who are paying for ESPN, and couldn’t even find it on the dial.” He added, "The cable operators are very concerned about people cutting their cord. All these leagues now have the ability to watch shows online … and there’s nothing really to stop consumers to go in and watch shows. … The bubble can be bursting sometime soon” (“In the Loop,” Bloomberg TV, 12/6).

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