Super Bowl XLII breaks record in Canada

How big was the audience? Well, more than a few media buyers guessed it would break a record here, like it did south of the border - and it did.

The Super Bowl XLII broadcast attracted a record audience in Canada on CTV and RDS, based on preliminary overnight data. Combined viewership of 5.07 million viewers on CTV and RDS surpassed the previous record of 4.98 million in 2006 on both Global (4.281 million) and RDS (702,000). CTV’s first-ever broadcast of the big game peaked at 5.83 million viewers at 10:02 pm ET during the final, thrilling moments of the NY Giants’ 17-14 upset victory over the New England Patriots.

The game’s average audience of 4.16 million viewers was up 24% over last year’s broadcast (3.367 million on Global). Another 905,000 watched a French-language broadcast on RDS, up 13% compared to 2007 (798,000), when viewership peaked at 1.2 million for the last half-hour. Final Super Bowl audience numbers will be available in the coming weeks.

In the US, Fox’s Super Bowl broadcast averaged 97.5 million viewers, beating the 1996 record of 94.1 million held by NBC, and making it the second-most-watched TV event ever (bested only by the final episode of MASH).

M2 Universal VP/director broadcast buying Dennis Dinga tells MiC this year’s Super Bowl broadcast provided a reason for fourth-quarter advertisers to smile. ‘Typically, in past Super Bowls, if you do audience analysis quarter-by-quarter you find they start dropping off by the fourth. Usually these games are a blow-out or they’re done before the fourth quarter starts. This year, it came down to the final 35 seconds.’

OMD Canada managing director Sherry O’Neil agrees. ‘We continue to see event programming such as the Super Bowl as excellent media brands which our clients want to be associated with, due to the calibre of the property, the audience it generates and the buzz surrounding them.

‘With the decreasing popularity of conventional TV, events will continue to provide an excellent opportunity to reach truly mass audiences in a single spot,’ O’Neil adds. ‘As a football fan, I felt the game – despite low scoring – was truly a property the viewer would stay with until the bitter end. This is not always the case with finale games, but this one really delivered.’

But O’Neil says she has a ‘pet peeve’ regarding CTV’s handling of the Super Bowl broadcast: the number of self-promos. ‘While we obviously believe advertising is good, a little variety would make the viewing experience much more pleasurable. I’m pretty sure they had more than three or four spots they could run to promote existing properties.’

Click for MiC‘s pre-Super Bowl coverage of who bought in for the big game.

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