SBD/December 4, 2012/Media

NFL Network's Thursday Night Games Taking A Toll On Broadcast Nets' Primetime Ratings

While NFL Network's decision to add five more "Thursday Night Football" telecasts this season is "paying off for itself," a report from investment research firm Sanford Bernstein says the additional games are "hurting the big four broadcast networks," according to Joe Flint of the L.A. TIMES. Primetime ratings for the four broadcast nets this TV season “are down about 8% in the key adults 18-49 demographic.” Sanford Bernstein media analyst Todd Juenger “attributes 25% of that drop to the NFL Network's Thursday games.” Juenger yesterday released a report that called the NFL a "frenemy" to the broadcast nets. Flint notes NFLN has “grown and even though it is still not as widely distributed as a typical broadcast channel, its Thursday games have on occasion gotten more viewers than NBC's Thursday lineup.” Thursday is “one of the most important nights for the television industry because advertisers, particularly movie studios and car companies, like to spend heavily there in advance of the weekend.” Juenger estimates that NFLN “gets about $20 million in commercial dollars per game or $140 million for its whole season.” Given that football's audience is “primarily men, the network most likely feeling the sting is ESPN.” Juenger: “The NFL Network effectively added a significant supply of available advertising impressions against the same target audience, in the same programming environment, as ESPN” (L.A. TIMES, 12/4).

EASTERN FRONT: ESPN earned an 11.6 overnight Nielsen rating for last night’s Giants-Redskins “MNF” telecast, which is tied with Bears-Cowboys in Week 4 as the best “MNF” overnight this season to date. Giants-Redskins is up 68% from a 6.9 overnight for Chargers-Jaguars in Week 13 last year. Last night's telecast peaked at a 13.0 rating from 9:30-9:45pm ET. In DC, the game earned a 20.9 local rating on ESPN and a 10.3 rating on WDCA-Ind. In N.Y., the game earned an 11.9 rating on ESPN and a 6.9 rating on WWOR-Ind (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).
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