Variety: Madison Avenue Predicts Football Viewership Will Drop Again This Year

NFL TV Network Battle

With just a few weeks to go before the kickoff of football season, advertisers may be questioning whether primetime NFL games can still score as many marketing touchdowns as it has in the past.

Variety survey of commercial-ratings projections for the 2017-18 broadcast-network TV season finds that ad buyers believe fewer people than last season will watch commercials during such primetime stalwarts as NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” and the “Thursday Night Football” broadcasts on both NBC and CBS. To be sure, the games remain TV’s top draw, with higher ratings expected for football than almost anything else on next season’s grid. But NFL games are proving just as vulnerable to audience erosion as their scripted counterparts. Advertisers’ commercial ratings predictions are culled by using estimates from three top media-buying agencies, which negotiate prices for and placement of billions of dollars in TV commercials each year.

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TV’s Biggest Commercial-Ratings Programs
SHOW 2017-18 C3
ESTIMATE
2016-17 C3
ESTIMATE
Live 18-49
2017-18
NBC SUN NIGHT FOOTBALL 6.55 7.6 6.7
NBC THURS FOOTBALL 5.05 6.22 5.2
CBS THURS FOOTBALL 4.70 5.74 4.8
THE OT, FOX 4.20 3.2 4.6
FOOTBALL NIGHT, NBC 3.5 4.1 3.6
EMPIRE, FOX 3.28 4.88 3.9
THIS IS US, NBC 2.88 1.49 4.6
BIG BANG THURS., CBS 2.6 2.86 4.9
BIG BANG MON, CBS 2.51 3.8
VOICE MONDAY NBC 2.25 2.83 3.0
VOICE TUESDAY NBC 2.14 2.53 2.7
GREY’S ANATOMY, ABC 2.03 2.36 3.3
THE BACHELOR, ABC 1.92 1.89 3.1
SOURCE: A VARIETY SURVEY OF THREE MEDIA BUYING AGENCIES
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