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    1. That is definitely true, and we do account for that, statistically. It’s somewhat complicated and proprietary, so I can’t really go into detail about it, but we definitely do not just assume that if a TV is on that someone is watching.

  1. That’s a very simple read of a very complex subject. I’ve been in TV news for 30+ years and it is still tough to decipher some times.
    The additional numbers of DVR viewing are mentioned, but those numbers in comScore are quite significant. I don’t have the book in front of me, but there are typically quite substantial additions in the viewing plus seven numbers. You can look at the NASCAR numbers each week when they are released, to see the impact.
    The big question is what can be done to increase viewership. If the internet didn’t exist, I think there would be greater interest. The big factor now is the need for immediate gratification, and I fear anything taking more than five minutes will not hold attention of many younger potential viewers when they can just crank up a video game.

    1. Definitely intended to be a very high-level view. As I mentioned, adding DVR for 3 days after roughly doubles the hours watched, however there is not a large increase in hours when looking at 7 days vs 3 days. There is only an increase of around 3-5%, in fact. I chose not to add additional data to the article since it was targeted to people outside the industry, which you clearly are not :).

      I agree that instant gratification is the biggest challenge, and the reason why races must be broadcast live. The amount of people without a cable/satellite subscription is also a big challenge, and going to continue to be a challenge if we are going to stick with traditional broadcast networks. Even if the races are provided with a streaming package (e.g. NBC Sports Gold), they have to be live, or I would guess that the impact to viewership would be fairly significant.

  2. It would be interesting, and perhaps more relevant, to see these ratings compared to a, network TV ratings overall, and b, relative to other sports. Excluding, of course, Netflix, which we all know is sucking up viewers.

    The NFL was way down last year, the NBA and MLB have been down for a few years. NASCAR is really suffering. Maybe flat is the new up.

    1. It’s a little more complicated than it seems. If you look at the overall rating of a network, that includes content from say, midnight to 7AM as well as prime time content. Races are on during prime time, but the overall rating will be artificially lower in comparison to just the prime time slot.

      In comparing to other sports, we can use NCAA basketball as an example. The ratings are somewhere around 2 – 4 for games on cable networks, and 6-8 on broadcast networks, looking at recent airings. The Daytona 500 has viewership that is 6-10x that of SX, both airing on FOX.

      One thing is certain, and that is that traditional TV viewing is dropping in general. Rating takes that into account to some degree, but overall viewership for all traditional TV is going to decline over time, in my opinion.

  3. I think the middle of the year uptick (at least for SX) may be attributed to the series moving East and start times being manageable for the entire viewing country. If you exclude SX races aired on FS2 or FOX (since those are both outliers anyway), the average ratings for non-west coast events increases quite a bit. By my rough cut, more than 50% higher ratings in both 2016 and 2017.

    Thanks for the analysis and for providing the data. I’m a big fan of any kind of raw data.

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