Although the NFL was hit with lower TV ratings in 2016 and is off to another uncertain start for the new 2017 season, the cost per thousand viewers among key viewing groups generally is rising for most networks.
CBS, Fox and NFL Network had major gains among adult 25-54 viewers in 2016, according to SQAD, the advertising research/
analytics company. CBS was up 20% to an average $59.29 in cost per thousand viewers, while Fox added 14% to $60.67 among 25-54 viewers and the NFL Network was 9.8% higher to $46.04.
Smaller gains were recorded by ESPN -- up 2.5% to $46.55 -- and NBC -- up 1% to $57.92.
Among key older male viewers 25-54, only CBS and ESPN grew in their pricing, with CBS inching 1.3% higher to $93.26 and ESPN up 12% to $75.41.
Fox still commands the highest pricing for male viewers 25-54 -- averaging $99.35, down 2.4% from 2015 -- while NBC has dipped 7% to $85.64 and the NFL Network lost 11% to $51.26.
Looking more broadly at average household CPMs, NBC was the leader at $41.29, despite a decline of 6.4%. Fox was next at $39.94, 9.3% higher in 2016 versus the year before. CBS was at $35.58 -- 7.5% higher.
After the big three NFL networks, ESPN grew 11.4% to $31.67 and the NFL Network added 8.1% to $30.54.
Despite weak CPM trends for some networks, overall national TV advertising revenues for the NFL regular-season games climbed to $4.2 billion in 2016 from $3.8 billion in 2015 (and $3.5 billion in 2014), according to Kantar Media.
After one weekend of NFL programming, the NFL Kickoff game on NBC last Thursday was down 14% to 21.8 million viewers. Nielsen said it would delay ratings due to Hurricane Irma in Florida over the weekend, which affected many TV homes.
For last year’s regular-season games, NFL viewership declined 9% to an average Nielsen 17.1 million viewers versus 2015.
All CPMs referenced are for NFL programming on TV networks.