Are Networks Struggling To Keep Audiences?

Do you agree that the Super Bowl, the Winter Olympics, and Oscars are still huge cultural events? Advertising, marketing, and PR firms are still trying to prove that. 

At one time these three television events were watched by most Americans, and now it’s more challenging to achieve the same audience and ratings for these programs. Back when all we had were televisions, these programs were shared experiences, where we all gathered together or at least we were all sitting down at the same time (for our respective time zone) somewhere watching the same thing. 

Which Event Is Still King in Viewer Attention and Engagement?

As you can see represented in the graph above, Super Bowl viewership remains constantly on the rise (Source: Statista). Sean Blankenship, Senior Vice President for marketing at Coldwell Banker in Madison, N.J. argues that the Super Bowl is DVR-proof, that ‘Big-event’ shows like the Super Bowl deliver “higher-engaged audiences who are less prone to DVR and skipping ads,” which is exactly why companies are willing to pay huge sums to get their commercial in the line up on game day (Source: New York Times). In contrast, the Winter Olympics viewer ratings reached an all time low this year, and ratings have been going down each year.  (Source:

It's All About Timing In The Television Ratings Game

David Campanelli, director of national TV at Horizon Media, says it’s not fair to compare the two sports events. "They are apples to oranges.” (Source: USA Today). Not only did the Winter Olympics have to contest with the Super Bowl (they were on within 4 days of each other) and uprising in Ukraine, which did not paint a good picture of the already not well liked host country Russia, also pushed some viewers away. Also, most Americans probably wanted to keep up with what they were more familiar.

Source: Daily Mail

Social Media Is the Middle Man, Making It Easier to Never Miss A Beat on Television

The Oscars is a very different animal, and remember not all three events are topics of conversation or interest to all groups. One of the reasons that advertisers are having trouble is that with a show like the Oscars, the highlights are readily available through social media.

You don’t have to change your schedule in order to keep up with a live one-time event, making it harder for advertisers to capture your attention.

Even if you're a “cord cutter” and gave up on television and strictly rely on the internet for your pop culture and entertainment needs, the way we engage and participate is different but there is still a need to connect with people and share. Right now advertisers and marketers alike are looking to invest, and you’ll see this tonight on Twitter the most, to engage people while they re watching. The goal is to attract viewers, give them incentives to watch, and keep them watching and interact with the show, so as to feel a apart of it. Take a look at the Academy’s Twitter page @theacademy and you’ll see what I mean. 

So enjoy the night, and cheers to Spring! 

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