Super Bowl audience slips stateside, steady on CTV

UPDATED AND CORRECTED TUESDAY:  I was a bit fast reporting a jump in Bell Media’s Super Bowl LII numbers.

During the game itself, when Canadians could choose between the American feed and the Canadian feed, the English Canada total was 4,451,000 viewers — down slightly from the 4,488,000 who watched in 2017.

Broken down, more people watch on the main CTV network this year (3366k vs. 2922k) but fewer saw the game on TSN2 this year (642k) than watched on the main TSN network last year (1114k). The CTV Two totals were a wash (452k vs 443k).

French language broadcaster RDS tallied 1005k Sunday — down slightly from last year’s 1020k — to bring the 2018 Canadian networks Super Bowl total to 5,456,000. Last year it all added up to 5,508,000.

The Super Bowl used to top eight million across Bell and RDS, suggesting anywhere from two- to two-and-a-half million Canadians watched the game on U.S. border affiliate stations. Last year, in other words, wasn’t a fluke — about a third of the Canadian audience, given the choice, will opt for the US feed and those Super Bowl ads.

In Toronto, the ratings hit is even more pronounced. CTV attracted 947,000 Super Bowl viewers Sunday. Despite being left out of a well-promoted contest, 529,000 Torontonians still chose to see the game on Buffalo’s WGRZ.

That window to the States and those ads was opened a couple of years ago by former CRTC chairman J.P. Blais. Bell now has a two-season sample to argue that the one night only exception to the sim-sub rule is dramatically impacting their business.

As predicted here Sunday, Super Bowl ratings were down year-to-year in the US. The loss was about three per cent in overnight ratings. Veteran numbers cruncher Marc Berman calculates the Eagles victory was the lowest-rated Super Bowl game in eight years.

NBC reported Tuesday that the total audience across multiple platforms (NBC, NBCSports.com, the NBC Sports app, NBC.com ‘TV Everywhere’, Universo, En Vivo app, NFL.com, NFL Mobile from Verizon, the Yahoo Sports app, and go90) adds up to about 106 million viewers. That’s down from 111.3 million last year on Fox and well down from the 114.4 million who watched on NBC in 2015.

It seems as if all that cord cutting and streaming competition, among other factors, are finally catching up (slightly) with TV’s No. 1 night. It certainly wasn’t because the game was dull.

CTV had this year’s post-Super Bowl treat, another 12-hanky episode of NBC’s This Is Us. With no CRTC shenanigans to prevent them from culling the US eyeballs in with their own, an estimated overnight audience of 1,429,000 watched the 90-minute drama on CTV. Of that total, an estimated 354,000 came from Toronto.

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