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Old 11-03-2017, 05:07 AM  
Eleazar Eleazar is offline
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NFL Excuses Run Out After Ratings Declines Continue

NFL's Litany of Excuses Runs Out After Ratings Fall for Second Year

By Lucas Shaw
Bloomberg.com
November 2, 2017, 11:30 AM CDT



TV networks are running out of excuses for the dwindling popularity of the National Football League.

They blamed the election for ratings declines last year, and hurricanes for a soft week one in September. Protests during the national anthem, and President Donald Trump’s criticism of the league, have faded from the headlines.

Advertisers are starting to believe a different explanation: the viewers aren’t coming back. Audiences are down an average 7 percent from a year ago through the first eight weeks of the season, excluding last Monday. That’s on top of a decrease of about 8 percent last season that spurred numerous changes in the broadcasts, from shorter commercials to better matchups earlier in the year.

“There’s just not as many people watching TV the way they used to watch TV,” said Jeremy Carey, managing director of Optimum Sports, a sports marketing agency. “It’s going to be an issue for advertisers when they can’t reach a large-scale audience the way they have.”

With CBS Corp., 21st Century Fox Inc. and Walt Disney Co. set to report earnings in the next few days, analysts are bound to raise questions. These companies have used the popularity of the games to extract additional fees from cable operators, promote other shows on their networks and sell lots of commercials. Pro football games drew about $3.5 billion in ad spending last year, including the postseason, according to SMI Media Inc.

Media companies have spent billions of dollars on the right to air football games, which had been immune to the erosion of viewership for other TV programming. Audiences for TV networks have diminished for years as the growing popularity of online alternatives Netflix and YouTube and the availability of most shows on-demand have reduced the appeal of dramas and comedies. Live TV, like sports, was supposed to be immune, but that theory looks highly questionable now.

Ratings for the NFL suggest the same societal trends are now affecting the league, even if the declines aren’t as dramatic. The drop in game viewership ranges from 5 percent for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” to 11 percent for the CBS Sunday package. “Monday Night Football,” on Disney’s ESPN, has attracted more fans this year than a year ago, but the numbers are still down from 2015.

Viewership of the four main broadcast networks fell 8.7 percent last year, and 12 percent among adults 18 to 49, an important demographic for advertisers.

CBS’s 11 percent slump for NFL games is the steepest of the networks. Its parent company, which reports earnings after the close Thursday, is more vulnerable than rivals to the trend because the vast majority of its earnings come from the broadcast network. The declines at CBS reinforce a complaint that has gotten louder and louder in recent weeks: The league got greedy in adding the Thursday night game on broadcast.

Reserving top games for Thursday night robbed other time periods of good match-ups. After a nosedive in ratings at “Monday Night Football” last season, the league has scheduled better games for that time period, further damaging Sunday afternoon.

“Ratings declines on both general entertainment and NFL programming could be the single biggest point of focus for investors this quarter, and we’re not sure what media companies can say about the health and tone of the ad market to assuage fears,” Steven Cahall, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a note last month.

Viewership is dropping fast among people under 54 -- a key demographic for advertisers -- and even faster among those 18 to 34. Audiences for games on CBS, NBC and Fox have slid at least 10 percent among that younger cohort.

Advertisers aren’t abandoning the NFL, one of the only places they can still reach more than 10 million people at once. But they are growing concerned. John Schnatter, who appears in TV spots on behalf of his Papa John’s Pizza International Inc., laid into the league on a conference call this week, blaming the ratings for his company’s slow revenue growth and calling for the league to put an end to player protests.

Networks and other advertisers identify a wide range of reasons for the NFL’s struggles. The league has overexposed itself by making highlights available on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Snapchat. Identifiable stars like Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers have either retired or gotten hurt. The quality of play has deteriorated. Player protests and concussions have driven away some fans.

Some executives argue viewership of the league has still improved over the long term while dropping for every other show. Yet the amount of time people have spent watching football this season is at the lowest point since 2011, back when there were fewer televised games, according to Mike Mulvihill, Fox Sports’ head of research.

“The cumulative effect of everything happening in the world at large is having an impact on NFL viewership,” Mulvihill said. “ The league was defying the laws of gravity.”
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Old 11-03-2017, 05:15 AM   #2
MichaelH MichaelH is offline
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One thing they could do is to make the games more accessible to other viewing mediums like MLB does. As the article states, more people just aren't watching TV the way they used to.

Maybe another thing to do is get rid of the announcers. I find them mostly irritating and turn down the game and turn up the music.
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Old 11-03-2017, 05:36 AM   #3
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Name one sport whose ratings didn't go down.

I don't get why people are trying to make it just the NFLs problem as if other leagues aren't seeing falling ratings. I don't understand why no one is mentioning the rise of DVR and cord cutting/streaming as the major cause for falling ratings. I've watched every single Monday night genre this season and all of them were by stream.

Until they figure out a new metric for ratings, we're going to keep seeing falling ratings for tv shows, especially live events
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Old 11-03-2017, 05:38 AM   #4
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Commercials. Way too many commercials.
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Old 11-03-2017, 05:48 AM   #5
thegame214 thegame214 is offline
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I don't know many people who even watch them by "channel" anymore. I, along with many others, purely "stream" them through Sunday ticket apps/Fubo/etc...

They need a new metric because I, along with many of you I'm sure, don't even have cable anymore as nearly all "channels" are streamable including CBS, Fox, ESPN.
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Old 11-03-2017, 05:50 AM   #6
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Welp, at least Papa John is screaming butthurt.

Always look for the positives.
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Old 11-03-2017, 05:52 AM   #7
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The demographic that grew up watching pre-Gooddell football is bailing?

Who would have thought?
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Old 11-03-2017, 05:53 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by -King- View Post
Name one sport whose ratings didn't go down.

I don't get why people are trying to make it just the NFLs problem as if other leagues aren't seeing falling ratings. I don't understand why no one is mentioning the rise of DVR and cord cutting/streaming as the major cause for falling ratings. I've watched every single Monday night genre this season and all of them were by stream.

Until they figure out a new metric for ratings, we're going to keep seeing falling ratings for tv shows, especially live events
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They have been mentioning other sports...but the NFL has been seen as made out of Teflon - people will change their habits to watch. Well...they won't, now. That's news - and it's bad news for a league that has been a juggernaut. Baseball viewership down? Old news...it's become more of a regional audience for years.

Plus, don't downplay the actual decreases in viewership and the reasons therein. It's anecdotal, but I have plenty of friends who were die hard NFL viewers that have given up on the league the last two years (for excuses that range from "the fix is in" to the politicization of the sport they watch for escape and entertainment).
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:17 AM   #9
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Where are OBJ, Watt, Luck, Berry, Edelman, Rodgers, and now Watson

So much star power on the sidelines. That's a factor
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:18 AM   #10
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Where are OBJ, Watt, Luck, Berry, Edelman, Rodgers, and now Watson



So much star power on the sidelines. That's a factor


There are new stars in the making every year that interest people.
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:19 AM   #11
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Welp, at least Papa John is screaming butthurt.

Always look for the positives.
Thats total BS. When his Pizza sales took a dive last time he publicly blamed Obama.

The NFL are greedy ****s.They took Direct TV's money instead of seeing the big picture. They could have charged $20 a game to stream online and made more money and people would have been happier.

Millennial's want their content online. Everyone, well most people know this fact. Right now in America, Millennial's are the largest group of customers in America. The NFL is missing the boat.
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:20 AM   #12
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:20 AM   #13
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There are new stars in the making every year that interest people.
True but none of them have the cache of those guys yet. Their replacements are boring. Brett Huntley? Jacoby Brissett?
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:25 AM   #14
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Did anyone read the article? Viewership of the four networks is down 8.7 percent. Over the same time period, viewership of the NFL is down by 7%.

People don't want to be held hostage to a set time and place to watch things.
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Old 11-03-2017, 06:29 AM   #15
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From cnnmoney a few weeks ago:

"Through week seven, the NFL is down 5% overall from the same point last year. That's a troubling drop for the biggest ratings powerhouse on TV, but it seems less dire when you consider that the four major networks are down an average 8% in prime time.
NBC is down 4%, CBS is down 6%, ABC is down 11%, and Fox's prime time viewership dropped 20% through the first month of the new TV season, according to Nielsen data. And those numbers are down despite the inclusion of live sporting events, which usually bring in big audiences.

The NFL's sluggish viewership may be less a symptom of the league's problems and more about what's happening in the TV environment overall. The landscape has become incredibly fragmented, thanks to a flood of programming and competition from streaming services and from the internet, not to mention a 24-hour news cycle that comes with a breathtaking amount of content. Television, Netflix, Hulu and Amazon are all vying for the same eyeballs, and there are no signs that the deluge of programming will ebb any time soon.

The numbers for network TV are also partially tied to the NFL's struggles, since CBS and NBC both broadcast games in prime time on Sunday and on Thursday nights.
"Regardless of the declines, the NFL is still by far the highest rated sport on TV and often the most watched broadcast on TV," said Brian Hughes, a senior vice president at Magna, which monitors audience trends. "
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