NBC Claims 147 Million Viewers Tuned in to Super Bowl At Some Point

By Matt Van Hoven Comment

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Yesterday Nielsen reported that 94.5 million of you turned on the Super Bowl. Naturally, the Web erupted with chatter about how this year’s game grabbed fewer eyes than last year when Fox pulled in 97 million. But, what about all those online eyeballs watching via Justin.tv, Hulu and all the ad-hype leading up to the game? That’s got to count for something, right? NBC thinks so, and according to MediaWeek reports that at some point, as many as 147 million people tuned into the game.

Seemingly having overlooked the online ratings, AdAge titled its story on the subject, “Super Bowl Advertisers Paid More, Got Less.” Well, that’s certainly true if you only consider TV. The publication, as well as AgencySpy and countless others posted ads weeks before they ran during the Super Bowl &#151 those clicks count for something.

Take the Doritos campaign as another example &#151 by letting the public create ads, the snack maker stirred up brand awareness months before the game. And it paid off, with a USA Today poll ranking the user generated spot as number one above all the others. Imagine that &#151 two relative nobodies beating the entire field &#151 and they did it for free.

Apparently, Nielsen isn’t much of a crystal ball when it comes to measuring true readership.

This issue has been stirring up for a while now &#151 online versus TV and the measurement of each. Though the Web was once a secondary landing space for advertisers, companies like NBC and FOX have forced the transition that’s been coming for a few years &#151 making the Web a primary competitor for TV. How Neilsen could discount that Web is beyond us, and it’s absurd that any publication would publish a report indicating that the game was a bust.

More: “NBC, Pepsi Jerk One Another Off, Hit Will Forte in Crossfire