Was CBS a Super Bowl Winner or Loser?
Super Bowl XLVII proved how big of a business American football truly is; the game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens scored the highest rating share in history.
Despite the 35-minute delay in the third quarter due to a power outage, the game earned CBS (NYSE:CBS) an average overnight household rating of 48.1 in Nielsen’s metered markets, an increase of 1 percent over last year’s match. This means 48.1 percent of households in the U.S. tuned in for the game. CBS will release the total number of viewers Monday afternoon, but, with the ratings increase, the figure is expected to beat last year’s record 111.3 million viewers. That game was the most-watched television program in U.S. history.
The Super Bowl, which determined the champion of the National Football League for 2012, was broadcast in more than 180 countries and in more than 30 different languages, making it one of the most important sporting events for advertisers. This year, the average 30-second spot cost $4 million or more, a 90 percent increase from a decade ago. With such a high number of viewers and such a large amount of money at stake, Super Bowl commercials have become almost as important as the game itself, and the best advertisements become a part of television history. Not only are they a form of entertainment, but the commercials bring the broadcasting network a record amount of advertising revenue
However, this year’s Super Bowl advertisements got mixed reviews. As CNBC reported, the commercials were a “loser” in this year’s contest, as was CBS. “After all that hoopla, there were some really pedestrian ads,” wrote the publication. “Sure, there were some good ones, but most fell flat.” CBS, in particular, drew criticism for its use of advertising. In the opinion of CNBC’s Brian Shactman, the network showed way too many promotions for its own television programs. “They would have been better served selling more ads,” he wrote.
But for social media sites, the game was a blockbuster. This Super Bowl was the biggest television event for social media ever, which is not entirely unexpected given the popularity of the event and the growth social media has experienced over the past year. According to social media research firm Bluefin Labs, viewers produced 30.6 million social media comments, up from 12.5 million last year thanks in part to the power outage spurring a lot of confusion and jokes.
Despite the criticisms from pundits, viewers tweeted and posted to Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) about the commercials in addition to the game. Chrysler’s Dodge Ram “Farmer” commercial and Yum Brand’s (NYSE:YUM) Taco Bell “Viva Young” spot were the most talked-about advertisements on social media.
Analysts also pointed out that Kraft Foods’ (NASDAQ:KRFT) Oreo ad, which asked viewers to vote “cookie or cream,” and Anheuser Busch’s (NYSE:BUD) Budweiser Clydesdale ad were the standout advertisements of the game.
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