A record 106.5 million people watched the Saints
write a storybook ending to their dream season by beating the
Indianapolis Colts 31-17 in Super Bowl XLIV on
That's not only the biggest audience to date for the
Super Bowl, but the biggest audience for a televised event ever —
barely knocking off the finale of
Of course, the television landscape has changed dramatically over the last 30 years. When the "MASH" finale ran in 1983, there were 83.3 million television homes; now there are almost 115 million television homes. One can spin that beating the record set by "MASH" was inevitable.
Though there may be more eyeballs available now than there were 27 years ago, there are also a lot more options for viewers, making the Super Bowl number more impressive. "MASH" played in the glory days of three broadcast networks. Now, people also have hundreds of cable channels and the Internet as entertainment options.
There was some concern that power outages caused by
heavy snow in the mid-Atlantic region may have hampered viewing.
Instead, it looks like the cold and snow helped, keeping people inside
and in front of their televisions on Sunday night. It was a similar
story in that region in 1982 when a snowstorm and Arctic blast hit that
When it comes to big-event programming, it is
becoming clear that the Internet is more friend than foe to television
ratings. The growth of social media creates a national water cooler for
viewers to share thoughts and trade quips about what they're watching.
Someone watching the game alone can now feel like they are watching it
at a party without having to worry about cleaning up dishes later.
Twitter was overloaded a few times during the game, with people
tweeting about advertisements — particularly the spot featuring
The big number provided a strong lead-in for
In recent years, networks have tended to use the
post-Super Bowl time slot for a special episode of an established show,
as was the case last year with
For history buffs, last year's down-to-the-wire Super Bowl match between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals on
Ad rates for Sunday's match were between the range of
If it seemed like you had more time to run to the kitchen or bathroom during the game, that's because you did. According to industry consulting firm Kantar Media, the telecast had 47 minutes and 50 seconds of commercials, a new record. If only a few had been as clever as the spot with Letterman, Leno and Winfrey.
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