Traditional TV Super Bowl Viewing Takes A Hit

Super Bowl LIII’s slow-moving, low-scoring game, in which the New England Patriots bested the Los Angeles Rams, resulted in an eye-opening TV viewing decline of 5% from a year ago.

Nielsen says traditional TV viewing on the CBS Television Network came in at 98.2 million viewers-- down from the 103.4 million who watched Philadelphia beat New England on NBC in 2018.

It is the lowest Super Bowl viewing number for a traditional linear TV network since 2008, when the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots, getting to 97.5 million Nielsen viewers.

CBS says TV and digital viewing amounted to a collective 100.7 million viewers, from totaling viewing on CBS Television Network, CBS Interactive, NFL digital properties, Verizon Media mobile properties and ESPN Deportes television and digital properties.



The average minute audience on digital platforms grew 31% to 2.6 million viewers during the game window. Last year, Super Bowl viewing on digital platforms was at 2.02 million viewers; it was 1.72 million in 2017; and 1.4 million in 2016.

The network says streaming of the Super Bowl was seen on 7.5 million unique devices, up 20% from last year. Viewers took in more than 560 million total minutes of live game coverage, up 19% from last year.

CBS says its ad-supported streaming service, CBS All Access, posted an increase of 84% in subscriber sign-ups on Super Bowl Sunday.

Nielsen says there were 32.3 million social-media interactions across official Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts  -- and fan Twitter accounts about the Super Bowl. Last year, Nielsen said there were 170.7 million social media interactions across Facebook, Instagram and Twitter in the Super Bowl.

2 comments about "Traditional TV Super Bowl Viewing Takes A Hit".
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  1. Patty Ardis from Ardis Media, LLC, February 5, 2019 at 12:33 p.m.

    It is probably time that the NFL and it's broadcast partners re-think the entire broadcasting and commercial process. It would be a refreshing change and one that is needed.

  2. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, February 5, 2019 at 2:18 p.m.

    Such record-low ratings were inevitable for three reasons:

    1.  The game was lame.  The commercials were tame.  The halftime show was halfbaked.

    2.  The New England Patriots are not the Dallas Cowboys.  Give Brady his due, but ... .

    3.  Defensive Games do not draw "Offensive" audiences.  Casual NFL viewers lose interest.  And if they lose interest in the Big Game what chance does a Big Commercial have?

    Finally, lest we forget, it is highly probable that Nielsen cannot, or will not, measure the historically high streaming audience that CBS/NFL made possible in at least 4 legitimate ways.
    (Not to mention the OOH [Out-Of-Home] Audience!)

    Nielsen is likely using the audio encoding technology of 1995 to measure the visual audience of 2020 and beyond.  Sponsors who paid $5 million per :30 must demand more and better from Nielsen.  Like Super Bowl LIII, this Nielsen Game has gone on for too long.

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