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Volume 25 No. 84
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NFL, CBS, Twitter Working On Audience Metric For “TNF” Games

The NFL, CBS and Twitter still are trying to develop a combined rating for this season’s “Thursday Night Football” telecasts, and it sounds like any metric will be similar to the Total Audience Delivery rating that NBC used during the Rio Olympics that combined primetime broadcast, cable and digital streams into one number. “There will be a number that will be released that will show the reach and the average minute viewed on Twitter,” said CBS Sports Chair Sean McManus. “We’re still working on what those metrics are going to be because they use a different formula than we do.”

The holdup with developing a ratings system around the “TNF” games -- which will be simulcast on CBS, NFL Network and Twitter early in the season -- is due to the fact that TV counts its viewer ratings differently from digital outlets. “We use six minutes of viewing to be counted in the reach, and they use something significantly shorter than that -- sometimes as little as three seconds,” McManus said. “Our priority is to make sure that we come up with a measurement and a metric that is apples-to-apples with the digital properties and the broadcast networks.”

Both CBS and NFL execs believe the Twitter streams -- which will carry the same national advertising as CBS -- ultimately will increase the package’s viewership. “At the end of the day, it is about how many people on average are showing up and watching. That’s what we are going to look at,” said NFL Exec VP/Media Brian Rolapp. “Ultimately, have we increased the reach and have we increased the average number of people that are watching the game at any given time?”