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Nielsen Acknowledges Flaws In Out Of Home Viewing Numbers

“It is a big problem for sports in particular, as many games are watched at parties or in a sports bar setting.”

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Nielsen began including out of home viewers in its national ratings in September of 2020. But earlier this week, the TV ratings provider shared that some of those numbers may be inaccurate.

Nielsen has told clients it has undercounted some out of home viewers for that entire time, an issue they say is due to their software. 

“As part of routine testing and quality controls, we recently identified an error that caused an understatement of reported out-of-home audiences for our national TV service,” Nielsen said in a statement. “While there is no impact to most telecasts, and no impact to local television, we did find some variances for events that tend to yield larger out-of-home audiences, such as live sporting events. The error has been corrected and Nielsen will be reissuing data from September 2020 to present in order to provide the industry with the most complete data.”

Out of town viewing would include things like watching a given program outside of your household at a public space. It is a big problem for sports in particular, as many games are watched at parties or in a sports bar setting.

In September, the Media Rating Council suspended Nielsen’s accreditation for national TV ratings. Complaints were made by clients about the company letting its national panel deteriorate during the pandemic, leading to potential undercounting of TV audiences. 

The Video Advertising Bureau said in September it would form a task force looking at measurement innovations.

“Today’s announcement by Nielsen of more systemic errors that have further undercounted TV ratings for the last sixteen months is unfathomable, both for Nielsen and the buyers and sellers that use Nielsen data as trading currency,” Video Advertising Bureau president and CEO Sean Cunningham said in a statement. “While the VAB and our Measurement Innovation Task Force have been looking to build back confidence in Nielsen’s core measurement capabilities, the timing of this latest and stunning omission of OOH viewership not being counted across the growing broadband only home universe coincides with our recent discovery of significant defects in Nielsen’s overall plans to include broadband only homes in early 2022 for local TV.” 

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Sports TV News

ESPN, FS1 Morning Studio Shows Drew Big Ratings Monday After Cowboys’ Playoff Loss

Dallas losing a playoff game in embarrassing fashion compelled plenty of viewers to tune in for sports debate shows.

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Monday morning following the Dallas Cowboys’ 23-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in their NFL Wild Card playoff game was very good for sports daytime TV. Both ESPN and FS1 boasted big, record-setting ratings for their studio debate shows, with viewers obviously wanting to know what on-air personalities and analysts thought of the Cowboys’ bumbling last-second failure.

On ESPN, Get Up drew 658,045 viewers, a six percent increase from the show’s previous season-high, set a week earlier. First Take attracted 918,386 viewers, the largest audience for that program. That total seven percent higher than the show’s prior best number, set on Dec. 28, 2019.

Fans clearly wanted to see Stephen A. Smith take delight in the Cowboys’ demise, also perhaps knowing that Hall of Fame Dallas receiver Michael Irvin was sitting across the desk from him Monday.

As mentioned, FS1 benefited from the Cowboys losing as well. Skip and Shannon: Undisputed brought in 442,000 viewers, the highest audience that show has ever attracted. Fans surely tuned in to see the reaction from Cowboys fan Skip Bayless and the taunts he’d receive from Shannon Sharpe.

The Herd with Colin Cowherd also earned its best ratings on FS1, drawing 290,000 viewers for Monday’s show. The network would also like you to know that the audience for both programs has gotten a boost year-over-year, with Undisputed enjoying an 89 percent increase and The Herd up 20 percent.

The Cowboys have always been a big ratings draw for the NFL’s television partners. Apparently, Dallas losing a playoff game in embarrassing fashion provides a significant benefit for the shows responding to the weekend’s major sporting events.

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Mike Golic Responds to Negative Comments on Drew Brees’ Broadcasting

“Unfortunately, you get judged early and then you get tagged with that.”

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Drew Brees made his NFL playoff broadcasting debut in the broadcast booth last weekend. The future Hall of Famer was alongside Mike Tirico, a legend in his own right, for the Raiders-Bengals Wild Card game.

But an NFL playoff game draws a lot more attention than a regular-season contest and Brees received some criticism for being “vanilla” with his color commentary.

Responding to the heavy negative feedback online, former ESPN personality Mike Golic shared his thoughts with The Athletic’s Richard Deitsch on his sports media podcast regarding Brees’ first year in the booth.

Golic stated that it’s harder to make the transition from the field to the broadcast booth in today’s industry than in the past because people are much more hypercritical today.

“When Drew started doing the Notre Dame games, people would tweet at me, ‘What do you think?’ I said listen, I’m not judging a guy when he just starts,” Golic told Deitsch, via Awful Announcing. “He’s a walk-in Hall of Famer. But he’s now in a different world of learning timing and everything that goes with a TV broadcast, which he’ll learn.”

Golic continued on Brees’ upcoming career journey.

“He’ll learn in time… your first and then your hundredth is a different person. But unfortunately, you get judged early and then you get tagged with that. ‘You’re supposed to be great at this.’ Man, that’s unfair but, you know what, unfair or fair, that doesn’t come into play. You’re gonna get that opportunity and you’re gonna be judged immediately on it.”

Brees will no doubt continue to be in the NBC booth for high-level games. But his improvement and overall performance will surely be something to keep an eye on.

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ESPN’s MegaCast Draws Over 23.1 Million Viewers for MNF Wild Card Weekend Debut

The Cardinals-Rams playoff game became the most-watched Monday night NFL game during ESPN’s Monday Night Football era.

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The first Monday night Wild Card playoff game proved to be a successful one. In fact, it became the most-watched Monday night NFL game during ESPN’s Monday Night Football era (2006 – present).

ESPN’s MegaCast presentation (across ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, and ESPN Deportes) recorded 23,150,000 viewers for the Los Angeles Rams’ blowout victory over the Arizona Cardinals. The audience peaked at 27.9 million viewers while the Rams led 21-0 in the second quarter (from 9:30 – 9:45 p.m.).

The game puts a bow on top of a season during which Monday Night Football finished the regular season with its best viewership since 2010, up 16% from 2020 and 13% from 2019.

As part of ESPN’s MegaCast, NFL Super Wild Card with Peyton and Eli continued its massive success that viewers have grown accustomed to. The “ManningCast” was again one of the network’s most-watched alternate telecasts, with the duo’s most recent shows now among ESPN’s nine most-watched alternate broadcasts. The audience on ESPN2 for the Wild Card game registered 1,419,000 million viewers.

The successful debut adds to an entire season of bests for ESPN. During the 2021-22 season, including the Monday Night Wild Card debut, ESPN delivered two of the four most-watched NFL Monday night games and three of the six during this era of MNF (2006 – present).

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