SBD/February 5, 2013/Media

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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