SB50: Strong Broadcast Audience, Weak Social Engagement

Feb 10, 2016

Super Bowl: Episode 50 aired this past Sunday on CBS featuring the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.

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Super Bowl: Episode 50 aired this past Sunday on CBS featuring the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers.  There were a lot of great story lines going into the big game.  Will SB50 be Peyton Manning’s last game?  Will Cam Newton win his first Super Bowl?  How many times will Jim Nantz say “dab”?

While CBS fell short of NBC’s Super Bowl audience from last year, “America’s Most Watched Network” (or so they say) now ranks a respectable 3rd place on the list of most watched television events.  SB50 pulled in 111.9M viewers.  In addition, video streaming on CBS and other NFL properties pulled in 1.4M viewers who watched 315M minutes of live video content on laptops, desktops, tablets, SmarTVs and mobile phones.


2015:  New England v. Seattle (NBC) – 114.4M

2014: Seattle v. Denver (FOX) – 112.2M

2016: Denver v. Carolina (CBS) – 111.9M

2012: NY Giants v. New England (NBC) – 111.3M

2011: Green Bay v. Pittsburgh (FOX) – 111.0M

While the broadcast did well, social media activity was a different story.  Facebook activity was down 25% compared to last year and Twitter usage was down a whopping 49%.  Facebook saw 60M people converse about the big game – registering 200M posts, comments or likes compared to 265M interactions last year.  On Twitter, 3.8M users sent 16.9M tweets, down from 25.1M tweets last year.

The most social activity came not during the game, but during the halftime show when some obscure British band opened for Bruno Mars and Beyoncé.  Not all that surprising considering the game was about as exciting as a trip to the dentist.

Facebook was pushing hard for strong social engagement.  Last month, Facebook launched “Sports Stadium”, a new section of the site that aggregates posts, videos and commentary surrounding live sports.  Unfortunately, the new platform fell flat… much like my expectations for an entertaining game.

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  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2018-03-07 21:55:41

    We're glad you found this to be useful, Margaux. Let us know if there's anything we can help with.

  • Margaux Ford Reply
    2018-03-07 05:57:06

    I appreciate the tips on hiring a production staffing company to have more time to focus on the creative aspects of the project. Hiring a production crew is a tedious task, and can take up much of your time. We're currently working on a huge production, and I'll share this article with my boss so he'll consider on delegating the recruitment to a staffing company. I like that you mentioned that staffing company can ensure to have the right team onboard for the project. Thanks!

  • Robert McWilliams Reply
    2017-10-31 19:05:18

    Todd: I have an ad agency in addition to our production company. We put one of our clients on OTT two months ago up in Nevada. Seems to be working! Thanks again for the work earlier this month. Rob

  • Nicole Rohde Reply
    2017-05-27 22:28:45

    Hey Andrew, Any word as to whether or not the Jokers will be back for Comic Con this year? Please let me know. Thanks!!!

  • Aaron Estabrook Reply
    2017-02-23 16:26:57

    I'll be tuning in for sure!

  • David Patton Reply
    2015-01-16 13:16:02

    Interesting blog post Andrew. For those who are nearly ready to cut the cord, but still want access to key channels such as ESPN, I'd recommend checking out Dish Network's new service, Sling TV. It provides access to a handful of channels for $20/month.

  • Andrew Ryback Reply
    2015-01-13 14:44:19

    Go for it! I'll admit that I was a little apprehensive about pulling the plug at first, but honestly, the transition away from DirecTV has been seamless. The only missing link is live sports, but there are a few work arounds depending on what sports you watch. Good luck!

  • Gregory Hart Reply
    2015-01-13 06:35:00

    While I am part of the 55 year old demographic that still has TV boxes and does TV viewing, I do my viewing using DVRs and networked PCs playing video files from an in-home server. I too have noticed that I view a handful of shows on a regular basis and have found various other sources for these shows. And now it has gotten to the point to where I am seriously considering ending my very long relationship with DirecTV and going streaming. Working in the TV industry also helped to open eyes to this as well. This transition from "old" TV is coming and the networks (Les Moonves, I am looking at you!) had better plan for it.

  • K. Lona Lymen Reply
    2014-01-31 17:54:25

    You are spot-on that voters don't believe that Obama can accomplish any of his plans. I vote in every election, but I am disgusted with all the arguing and last minute actions that band-aid a problem for a few months, and then break out into new arguments. The comparison to the Superbowl was interesting because, like politics it is a great American sport. But, instead of Peyton Manning giving a State-of-the Union, the President's address should get better commercials!

  • Gary Reply
    2013-08-08 09:44:39

    You've left out a HUGE part of this story by not mentioning Howard Stern's effect on the Sharknado buzz! #siris-ly

  • Marybeth Harrison Reply
    2013-08-07 14:46:29

    I can almost hear the theme song from Jaws as I read your post!