SBD/February 5, 2013/Media

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  • CBS Super Bowl Viewership Falls Short Of U.S. Record, But Still Third-Best All-Time

    CBS earned a 46.3 final Nielsen rating and 108.4 million viewers for Sunday’s Ravens-49ers Super Bowl XLVII telecast from 6:32-8:41pm and 9:11-10:47pm, down from the audience for the game the last two seasons. Ravens-49ers is down from a 47.0 rating and 111.3 million viewers for Giants-Patriots last year, which remains the most-viewed telecast in U.S. TV history. While the 46.3 rating last night tops the 46.0 rating for Packers-Steelers in '11, the viewership is down from 111.0 million. Ravens-49ers ranks as the third most-viewed telecast in U.S. history. Super Bowl telecasts now account for four of the top five most-viewed telecasts all-time, with the "M.A.S.H." finale in '83 ranking fifth (60.2 rating, 106.0 million viewers). The highest-rated Super Bowl remains the 49ers-Bengals Super Bowl XVI in '82 with a 49.1 rating (85.2 million viewers) (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand asks, "So does that prove big-event live TV, despite the ever-increasing viewer choices, is alive and well?" Media consultant and former CBS Sports President Neal Pilson suggested that in addition to sports, "award shows such as the Grammys and Oscars will remain big attractions" (USA TODAY, 2/5). Horizon Media Research Dir Brad Adgate on Twitter wrote, "50.6 million viewers to the Super Bowl were female accounting for 46.5% of total audience. Median age for all viewers were 43.5" (TWITTER.com, 2/5).

    SUPER BOWL RATINGS/VIEWERSHIP TREND IN THE U.S.
    YEAR
    SUPER BOWL
    NET
    RAT.
    VIEWERS (000)
    MATCHUP
    '13
    XLVII
    CBS
    46.3
    108,414
    Ravens-49ers
    '12
    XLVI
    NBC
    47.0
    111,346
    Giants-Patriots
    '11
    XLV
    Fox
    46.0
    111,010
    Packers-Steelers
    '10
    XLIV
    CBS
    45.0
    106,476
    Saints-Colts
    '09
    XLIII
    NBC
    42.0
    98,732
    Steelers-Cardinals
               

    LUCKY OR GOOD? The AP's David Bauder noted when Ravens WR Jacoby Jones returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown and gave his team a 28-6 lead, CBS' "dream of a ratings record surely became even more distant." When "half the lights went out," CBS' ratings "immediately dipped by two full ratings points in the overnight measurement of big cities." When the lights returned, "so did the 49ers." They "quickly jumped back in the game and CBS' audience, no doubt fueled by social media chatter, came back, too." CBS was "blessed with the dream of every network that telecasts the Super Bowl: a game that isn't decided until the final play" (AP, 2/4). ESPN's Tony Kornheiser said, “I was surprised that more people didn’t leave the game, that the rating was so high, because it’s 28-6 and now you’re facing about half-an-hour (delay).” ESPN's Michael Wilbon: “What are they going to do, click over to ‘Laverne and Shirley?’” (“PTI,” ESPN, 2/4).

    RATINGS IN PARTICIPATING MARKETS: In Baltimore, David Zurawik noted the Super Bowl drew a "record audience of 1.5 million viewers at its peak in the Baltimore market." The audience is "believed to be the largest for any show on Baltimore TV since the introduction of household meters" in '92. The telecast earned a 59.6 local rating, "which means three out of every five TV homes in the area was tuned to the game" (BALTIMORESUN.com, 2/4). The WASHINGTON POST's Dan Steinberg noted the DC market earned a 56.9 local rating. The interest also seemed "intense in Norfolk and Richmond, which ranked fourth (55.8) and eighth (53.7), respectively, on the list of metered markets." Not surprisingly, the game "was the most-watched Ravens game in DC history" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 2/4). Meanwhile, in Dallas, Barry Horn wrote it was the "good people of San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose, who combine to create the sixth-largest TV market in the nation, who were relatively blasé about the 49ers." The market ranked "28th among the 56 major markets" for the Super Bowl with a 46.5 local rating. That is "mind-boggling and probably unprecedented." Meanwhile, most "distressing during the CBS broadcast ... was analyst Phil Simms, who too often seemed distracted and waffled when he should have been decisive" (DALLASNEWS.com, 2/4).

    SOCIAL EVENT OF THE YEAR: USA TODAY's Melanie Eversley notes users of social media -- mostly "on mobile devices -- generated a record-setting number of posts, 'likes,' check-ins, mentions and comments" about the Super Bowl. N.Y.-based Trendrr said that social media interactions on Sunday night set a record "for any major televised event." Trendrr reported that in all, there were "47.67 million instances of social-media engagement during the game." The company added that the Super Bowl last year "scored 17.4 million interactions on social media vs. 3.1 million in 2011." Social media measurement firm Bluefin Labs "counted 30.6 million social-media comments related to the game: 27.7 million via Twitter and 2.8 million on Facebook." Bluefin said that the figure is compared with "28.3 million comments for election night coverage in November," and "13 million for the 2012 Grammy Awards" (USA TODAY, 2/5). The AP's Barbara Ortutay notes Beyoncè's halftime show generated a "record 24.1 million posts on Twitter." That is "up from 13.7 million last year -- and that doesn't even include chatter surrounding the ads." Twitter said that "about half of the more than 50 national TV spots that aired during the game included a 'hashtag.'" During last year's game, "only one in five ads included one" (AP, 2/5).

    ON THE SECOND SCREEN: BROADCASTING & CABLE's George Winslow cited a report from network equipment company Sandvine as saying that TV viewing during the Super Bowl "once again reduced Internet traffic during the game by about 15%." The Sandvine numbers would "confirm the network's strategies of focusing on its streaming and digital components as a complement to viewing on the TV." Sandvine reported "the Super Bowl stream accounted for over 3% of total network traffic for the evening" (BROADCASTINGCABLE.com, 2/4).

    BIG NUMBERS IN CANADA: Data from BBM Canada shows that the Super Bowl attracted an average audience of 7.33 million viewers on CTV and RDS (CTV: 6.6 million; RDS: 763,000), making it the most-watched program of the broadcast year. Beyoncè's halftime performance peaked at nearly 9.4 million viewers (Bell Media).

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  • CBS Faced Technical Issues Along With Challenge Of Reporting On Blackout

    McManus (l) said he still hasn't gotten an explanation on the reason for the blackout

    CBS during the Super Bowl XLVII power outage was "faced with trying to maintain its live coverage, with all but three or four cameras no longer functioning, and report on the cause of the blackout," according to Bill Carter of the N.Y. TIMES. CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus said that the net's production team "learned that some hand-held cameras on the sidelines had power, so Steve Tasker, a sideline reporter, was charged with presenting the first report on what was transpiring." The net then "started setting up its team of studio hosts in a position on the floor of the Superdome." CBS President & CEO Les Moonves said that the net was "never in danger of having to go dark," and that the CBS News studio in N.Y. could "gear up at a moment’s notice." He added that CBS "could have transferred the news coverage to that studio if it had to." Carter noted CBS "also had a production studio available in New Orleans to service the company’s cable channel, the CBS Sports Network." Moonves said that he was "told quickly that the blackout had something to do with a power source being overtaxed and 'needing to cool down' before play could resume." Moonves: “We were told it would be 20 minutes. We knew we wouldn’t be down for hours.” McManus, asked whether CBS had been aggressive enough in seeking information about the blackout itself, said the network was aware that “people would be saying CBS should be giving us some information." He said, "We were asking everybody we knew. But we just had no information at that point" (NYTIMES.com, 2/4).

    I SEE A DARKNESS: In L.A., Joe Flint notes if "only CBS had lost power" and the game continued, it "would have been a disaster of epic proportions for the network." McManus called the blackout a "surreal situation," but said, "If this had been in the CBS compound that would been a bigger problem." He acknowledged that the net "should have done a better job of communicating with viewers about what was going on at the Superdome when the lights went out." McManus added that he "still has not gotten an explanation on what caused the failure." But if he "had to do it over again he would have pushed harder to get an NFL representative on camera" (L.A. TIMES, 2/5). SportsNet N.Y.’s Ryan Asselta said CBS "looked a little bad on this.” Once the net "established this wasn’t safety issue,” the NFL “had to get in front of the camera and tell us what was going on.” Asselta said CBS put Tasker "in a tough spot” during its blackout coverage. Tasker is a "guy that is not a reporter by trade” and he “was stumbling, bumbling out there” ("Daily News Live," SportsNet N.Y., 2/4). 

    Print | Tags: Media, CBS, Super Bowl
  • People & Personalities: Report Says Sapp Could Be Looking To Leave NFLN

    Sapp's representatives have approached ESPN about a job for the NFL Network analyst

    In N.Y., Bob Raissman noted recently elected Pro Football HOFer and NFL Network analyst Warren Sapp's "contract is about to expire" and sources said that he is "looking (or may be forced to look) for a change of scenery." ESPN has "already been approached by Sapp’s 'people.'" Did his "performance during NFLN’s coverage of Super Bowl media day leave a sour taste in the mouths of prospective employers?" When host Rich Eisen said Ravens LB Ray Lewis “moments ago” commented on the “two murders” and NFLN would be airing his response, Sapp "dropped his microphone in disgust" (NYDAILYNEWS.com, 2/3).

    RAY'S WAY: Raissman cites Lewis' reported deal to join ESPN as an analyst and wrote the net "is not only getting a future Hall of Famer who is highly recognizable, a guy coming off a dramatic run to a Super Bowl title, but someone with major access." It "pays to have friends in the business Lewis appears to have chosen." Raissman: "Does anyone really think Shannon Sharpe got that interview with Lewis on CBS’ Super Bowl pregame show because his interviewing skills are better than that of Dan Marino or Bill Cowher? Please. Sharpe got the one-on-one because he’s a former teammate and Lewis’ good pal" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 2/5).

    KUDOS: SI.com's Peter King wrote Andrea Kremer is "off to a very good start with NFL Network as its health and safety reporter." She aired an "important story Sunday" on Jaguars WR Laurent Robinson trying to "recover from four concussions in four months, and he and his wife wondering about life after football." That is "good work by Kremer." It is the "kind of story that needs to be unearthed by her if the league's own network is going to be taken seriously on hiring a serious reporter and allowing her to do her work the right way" (SI.com, 2/4).

    IN THE BOOTH: In Chicago, Daryl Van Schouwen noted White Sox play-by-play announcer Ken Harrelson admitted "something was wrong" in the TV booth "during the last season and a half, but he is confident the chemistry between him and partner Steve Stone will be better this season." Harrelson on Saturday appeared on ESPN Radio 1000 Chicago and said he took part in "a big meeting" at the team's fan fest involving Stone, Chair Jerry Reinsdorf, Senior VP/Sales & Marketing Brooks Boyer and Senior Dir of Business Development & Broadcasting Bob Grim. Harrelson said that the meeting "helped clear things up." Team execs were "concerned the tense mood in the broadcast booth did nothing to project a fun atmosphere around the ballpark." That is "something they want to project" (SUNTIMES.com, 2/2).

    MOVING ON: Rays sideline reporter Laura McKeeman "has left" the TV broadcast team to work for Fox Sports on a national basis. McKeeman has been "working PAC 12 basketball games with other assignments to come, and eventually will be based in San Diego" (TAMPABAY.com, 2/1).

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