SBD/April 7, 2014/Media

Turner's Final Four Audience Down From '13, But Sets Cable TV College Hoops Mark

Kentucky-Wisconsin averaged a 9.2 rating and 16.3 million viewers across three nets
The Final Four's TV numbers are down from last year, but CBS and Turner Sports are touting digital statistics that are up across the board. Though the combined TV viewership across TBS, TNT and truTV is down from last year's Final Four on CBS, the matchups have become the two most-watched college basketball games in cable TV history. UConn-Florida averaged a combined 6.9 fast-national rating and 11.7 million viewers across TNT, TBS and truTV. Those figures are down from a 8.7 rating and 14.4 million viewers for the comparable Louisville-Wichita State game. The late game, Kentucky-Wisconsin, averaged a 9.2 rating and 16.3 million viewers across the three channels, down from a 10.2 rating and 17.1 million viewers for Michigan-Syracuse in '13. From a digital perspective, the numbers are good. Turner reported a 76% increase in live streams (3.8 million) and a 37% increase in the number of hours of live video consumed (more than 1 million in total). The games logged 1.8 million related tweets, a figure that is up 36% from last year (John Ourand, Staff Writer). In Dallas, Barry Horn notes cable "just can’t post the same numbers as over-the-air television," and the "same has been true for the events that have gravitated to ESPN from over-the-air." The Turner networks are "available in approximately 15 million fewer homes than CBS" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/7).

NO ROOKIE MISTAKES: The DALLAS MORNING NEWS' Horn noted the broadcast crew of Jim Nantz, Greg Anthony and Steve Kerr "sounded as if it had been working together for years." Anthony "proved dead-on" Saturday night when he "pointed out that Florida was not the team to run away from an opponent." The "idea that there was a need for two studio sets because of all the CBS and Turner analysts on the payroll is not a winner." Meanwhile, Turner's Teamcasts "were as advertised: Quality productions with hometown broadcasting." Horn: "If only there had been a controversial play to contrast approaches" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 4/6).

SMOOTH TRANSITION: In Austin, Cedric Golden wrote Clark Kellogg has "brought a nice college analytical perspective to the studio" with Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith, two longtime NBA analysts who "don’t follow the college game as closely." Kellogg is in his first year in the studio after six years next to Nantz in CBS' top broadcast team, and he said, "The studio is different but it’s something I could do well because Turner is now a partner and we have a little more time with all those games being televised in their entirety." Kellogg said that he "wouldn’t mind returning courtside to his old role in the future but that if it doesn’t happen, he would be fine dropping knowledge from the studio" (STATESMAN.com, 4/5).
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