Fox/NFL Net Sees 2% Ratings Uptick For Eagles-Giants "TNF"
Fox and NFL Network combined to draw a 10.8 overnight rating for the Eagles' 34-13 win over the Giants on "Thursday Night Football," up 2% from Eagles-Panthers in Week 6 last year on CBS/NFL Net. Eagles-Giants marks the best "TNF" yet this season. The 10.8 is also up 13% from the "TNF" average for CBS and NBC last season. Several markets were not reporting on Thursday night due to the effects from Hurricane Michael, including Charlotte, Raleigh-Durham, Richmond and Greensboro-Winston-Salem (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).
STAR POWER: NBCNEWS.com's Shannon Ho wrote the "storylines were stacked against the NFL" coming into this season, but after the first five weeks, the league and its broadcast partners can "breathe a sigh of relief." Evidence of President Trump's impact on ratings is "scant" so far this season (NBCNEWS.com, 10/10). In DC, Ben Strauss noted that the top 15 TV shows in September were "all NFL games." Meanwhile, cable entertainment programming -- "not including news and sports -- is down" 11% this fall. Sources said that the "leading reason for the good news" is a "shockingly simple explanation: better football." Injuries are also down, after "crossover stars" like Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr., Texans QB Deshaun Watson and Packers QB Aaron Rodgers all "missed significant time last year." More "compelling football has resulted in viewers watching games for an average of three more minutes this season (83 versus 80)." Former NFL PR exec Joe Lockhart: "If you think of the NFL as a movie studio, this year they've got a blockbuster." Lockhart also said that the "threat to the league" was not Trump, "it was Netflix" (WASHINGTON POST, 10/11).
GOING GRAY: PRO FOOTBALL TALK's Michael David Smith noted ratings "seem to be getting stronger" as the season goes on. In each of the last two weeks, "four of the six broadcast windows were up" compared to last season. Even programming that is "doing well still isn't doing as well as the NFL." However, "not all the news is great" for the league. The NFL's audience "appears to be getting older, which isn't a good sign for the long-term health of the league" (PROFOOTBALLTALK.com, 10/11). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Flint & Beaton note a "growing number of viewers over 50 years old are watching the NFL this season." An NFL spokesperson said that through four weeks of the season, "digital consumption is up" 65% over last year, with an "average audience of 326,000 per game" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 10/12).
CANADA ALSO TUNING IN: In Toronto, John Kryk reports total viewership for NFL games on CTV, TSN and French-language RDS "increased 35% in Week 3, and 22% in Week 4." The "sharp increases" could be due to CTV2 now carrying "early-afternoon games on Sundays this year, whereas only the main CTV network and TSN carried games in that time slot in previous years." The only sports program that "regularly outdraws the NFL late Sunday afternoon game in Canada" between October and December is the early "HNIC" broadcast on Saturday nights (TORONTO SUN, 10/12).