This year’s Superbowl tuning was interesting from a media standpoint for a number of reasons. While it’s always among the highest viewed programs of the year, Superbowl 51 represented the first non-simulcast broadcast, meaning Canadians were watching US commercials rather than Canadian commercials as we have in past years.
In addition to this year’s game not being simulcast, reports are showing that tuning overall is down by 30% . The TV numbers peaked at 5.138 million over halftime, which is typical. During the game itself, audience levels started slow at 4.020M, growing each quarter (Q2 4.321M & Q3 4.309M) and ending with 4.662M in the fourth quarter. It’s safe to say that digital tuning was strong, and also peaked during Lady Gaga’s half time show. A drop of 30% is a pretty big deal from a broadcaster perspective in terms of audience compensation and makegoods, not to what it means for renewals for the Canadian broadcast of the NFL games and Superbowl in the future.
While buying spots in next year’s Superbowl likely won’t be an option due to the lack of simulcast, there are still options available for advertisers who are seeking this audience. Among our top recommendations would be to explore options within the digital broadcast, or potentially look at sponsorship options outside of traditional :30 inventory. For those with big hearts and small budgets, it doesn’t cost anything to become a part of the conversation on social media around the game, the commercials, and for those of us who are media geeks, the audience tuning numbers.
Here is a great snapshot of this years’ commercials.