- Amazon is working to bring advertisers together after ‘Thursday Night Football’ audiences plummeted.
- According to an advertising source, the tech giant’s viewership was 25% lower than estimated.
- Advertisers will likely give Amazon a pass because “TNF” was popular with young viewers.
According to ad agency sources, Amazon is trying to get advertisers to be whole in its “Thursday Night Football” broadcasts on Prime Video after audiences fell short of estimates.
Amazon has struck an 11-year, $11 billion deal with the NFL to make Prime Video the exclusive “TNF” streamer – part of the tech giant’s bid to become a major sports player. Amazon bet it could recoup transaction costs from ad revenue by using the NFL pact to more widely promote its burgeoning ad business.
According to Nielsen data shared by Amazon Monday, “TNF” on Prime Video averaged 9.6 million viewers in a 14-match season. According to the Sports Business Journal, this is the lowest number of “TNF” since the NFL began selling it to media partners prior to the 2014 season. (Amazon’s internal figures showed a slightly higher figure of 11.3 million viewers). Amazon did not immediately comment on the story.
According to one advertising executive, viewership was about 25% lower than estimated, prompting Amazon to make other ad inventory available to some customers as compensation for poor performance. Redress means waiving the opportunity to sell these assets to other advertisers.
The shortage wasn’t entirely unexpected, considering the NFL’s first streaming-only broadcast marked a change of habit for viewers accustomed to finding games on linear television. Questions have been raised about whether viewers will find games on Amazon, and the company has gone to great lengths to educate consumers on how to stream. To access the games (which continued to stream in local team markets), some fans had a hard time finding them on the new platform, despite Amazon’s promotional efforts.
Amazon also faced a learning curve on the ad sales front. It started by asking for $80 to reach 1,000 viewers – roughly twice what television typically charged for NFL games – before lowering its request to around $60.
According to Amazon, the viewership for “TNF” on Prime Video was 47 years – 7 years less than the NFL average on linear TV. “Amazon touts its younger audience as a key advantage of TNF’s move to their platform, which is certainly a good thing for marketers looking to reach a younger audience – however I don’t know if that’s enough to offset the value lost in overall viewership,” said another buyer. ads.
But advertisers will likely give Amazon a general pass, given that this was the first streaming-only season of “TNF”. Additionally, Amazon has been flexible with ad pricing and has a wide range of offerings – from Freevee and Twitch – that it can use to make up for any audience shortfall.