Media Notes From The Super Bowl by Carey Lewis

The biggest headline coming out of Super Bowl LIII on the 4th of February extravaganza was “how boring this game was”.  The low scoring game was a struggle for casual fans too as the casual fan tends to feed off the emotions to the loyal viewers.  The commercials were roundly criticized by the media for their lack of innovation and Maroon 5’s halftime performance was nearly universally panned, and many felt the accompanying acts Travis Scott and Big Boi helped underdeliver versus everyone’s expectations.  Pepsico must have been disappointed too.  If you are a patron of the game, inclusive of the the half-time show, I’m sure you can sympathize with these sentiments.   As a patron of the game myself, I believe most people wanted to see someone other than New England as the AFC representative in the ‘big show.’ Let’s face it they are a dynasty, but its time for another team.

The numbers are U.S. based:

In the US, advertisers paid $5.25M US for a 30 second spot in the Super Bowl on CBS.  Conversely, in Canada, advertisers paid close to $200K Cdn. for a 30 second spot on CTV.  It’s still great value on the 10/1 ratio if you are a national advertiser.

As for viewership, this low scoring event was the lowest viewed Super Bowl in a decade.  According to The New York Times, which earlier reported on the 53rd Super Bowl’s ratings, the big game’s viewership has been slipping in recent years.  However, just over two-thirds of households (67%) with televisions in use were tuned into the Super Bowl LIII telecast.  The game attracted 111.3 million viewers in 2017 and 103.4 million viewers last year.  After losing another five million viewers in 2019, television viewership seems to have waned.

The biggest shift was people tuning into the game via their mobile device.  CBS was quick to note that digital viewership, including those who streamed the game on a computer or set-top box, reached a new record of 2.6 million people. So, while television viewership has been off, digital streaming viewership has been growing and helping to offset traditional broadcast declines.  Therefore, the host broadcaster is finding a way to aggregate audience across multiple platforms.

When it comes to the social nature of the game, in the U.S., there were 32.3 million social media interactions across official Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts and fan Twitter accounts about Super Bowl LIII on CBS on Feb. 3, 2019.

The top social minute of the telecast on Twitter occurred at 8:23 ET p.m., during which 171,000 Twitter interactions were sent as fans reacted to the halftime show performance wrapping up. The second most social minute occurred after the game at 10:09 ET p.m., during which 102,000 Twitter interactions were sent discussing the Patriots’ victory over the Rams. The third most social moment occurred at 9:34 ET p.m., when nearly 74,000 Twitter interactions were sent about the Patriots scoring the first touchdown of the night.

Another Super Bowl has come and gone.  A lot of learning for people in the communications business.  Viewing big events on the 3rd screen is here to stay.  The numbers are there. It will be interesting in the coming years to see how many viewers migrate from TV to their 3rd screen.  For many people though the Super Bowl will continue to be a big event that is better viewed on a big screen with family and friends and those watching the game will continue to interact with family and friends on social media.  Next year, maybe we’ll see Kansas City playing New Orleans in the big game.  I really believe many people felt if Kansas City would have won the overtime coin toss, they would have been in the Super Bowl representing the AFC and New Orleans would have been the NFC representative if the refs would have made the pass interference call late in the game.

Sources:  Nielsen, The New York Times, The Globe and Mail

Carey Lewis is the Director of Strategic Planning at DSA Media  Please reach out if you’d like to discuss this blog content.