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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Versus Matches NBC for Record Viewership

The NHL on Versus continued its record breaking romp thorough the post-season as it set an all-time record for viewership for Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Philadelphia Flyers. The game drew 2.3 million viewers, and got a 1.8 rating. It was the most watched event in terms of viewers in Versus/OLN history and second to the final stage of the 2005 Tour de France in terms of ratings.

The 2.3 million viewers is equal to Game 5 between the Penguins and Rangers which was broadcast on NBC the previous Sunday. That was the most watched non-Stanley Cup Final playoff game in five years.

Versus was again the #1 cable network in terms of total viewers, the 18-34 and 18-49 male demographics during the telecast. It also beat the competing NBA telecast on TNT (Hornets-Spurs) in these metrics. Versus is now averaging a 1.2 for the Conference Finals, which up 50% from the 0.8 it averaged last season.

The fact that Versus continues to set record ratings may be surprising to some but seems fairly predictable when you look at the facts. You have a matchup of the 4th largest US media market with the most exciting, young team in the league, which by the way, is also located in a hockey crazy city. On top of that, unlike in many markets in the US, Versus has excellent penetration in the two cities, with Versus and parent company Comcast being based in Philadelphia. This allowed Versus to draw a 22.3 in Pittsburgh and a 9.4 in Philadelphia, and be the top show on either broadcast or cable in Pittsburgh and #2 in Philadelphia among both broadcast and cable. It is also a reason that Detroit-Dallas didn't draw the same ratings despite having a few hundred thousand more TV households in their markets.

It will be interesting to see if Versus will draw significantly higher for their Stanley Cup Finals games, since I don't believe they have the same type of penetration in Detroit or Dallas as they do in Pennsylvania. I think they will, but I will be curious as to how much.

1 comment:

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