As Super Bowls go, Super Bowl XLV was a monster of a game for Nielsen ratings. The Washington Post reports that the contest between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers drew a television record 111 million viewers as the most-watched program in U.S. television history. The Packers’ triumph bested the 106.5 million viewers who tuned in for Super Bowl XLIV last year, as well as the 106 million viewers who watched the series finale of “M*A*S*H” in 1983.
Super Bowl television views: Reach number vs. actual audience
Some media sources have reported that Super Bowl XLV had a television audience of 162.9 million people. However, that number does not represent the actual number of viewers; it is a “reach” number that relates to advertisers. That many people watched six minutes of the game or less. The 111 million figure is for viewers who stuck around longer, even through the performance of the Black Eyed Peas during the Super Bowl halftime show.
Not much crossover between football and ‘Glee’ fans
Much of that audience failed to stick around once the game was over and the latest episode of “Glee” aired, though. Nielsen Media Research says 84 million of the 111 million bailed when the game was over. The post-Super Bowl audience of 27 million viewers this year was significantly lower than what CBS experienced in 2010 when it aired the reality show contrivance “Undercover Boss,” which captured 39 million viewers.
Neither show could touch the numbers for the top two post-Super Bowl programs in television history. A 1996 episode of “Friends” drew 53 million viewers, and the 2001 premiere episode of another “reality” program, “Survivor: The Australian Outback” got 45 million viewers.
The deadly East Coast time slot
It is believed that much of the drop-off following the Super Bowl had to do with the start time for “Glee.” Because of the Super Bowl XLV post-game show, “Glee” began at 10:30 p.m. Eastern. As most of the country’s major Nielsen markets are in the Eastern time zone, bedtime could have been the main factor in the shrinking audience.
Washington Post http://voices.washingtonpost.com/tvblog/2011/02/glee-post-super-bowl-episode-a.html
Super Bowl XLV Doritos commercial
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