Home Estate Planning Super Bowl breaks TV viewing record – but how do we know?

Super Bowl breaks TV viewing record – but how do we know?

0 comment

Super Bowl LVIII has smashed TV viewing records, but the way we collect ratings may surprise you. Here’s how it’s done.

The 2024 Super Bowl has been crowned the second most-watched US television broadcast in history, second only to the Apollo moon landing in 1969.

The record has been partly attributed to omnipotent pop star Taylor Swift (whose romance with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce brought in a new demographic of fans to the American sport), but also to the less bejewelled matter of data collection.

How are TV ratings calculated?

US analytics firm Nielsen said the game drew in 123.7m viewers, but how does it know? Well, perhaps not the faceless high tech method you imagined but instead through a sample of square-eyed Yanks, who log what TV they’re watching every day. Nielsen also began including out-of-home viewers in its count this year, contributing to the ratings uplift.

And indeed the same method is used in the UK, where the TVs of a carefully selected panel of 5,100 households are equipped with ‘peoplemeters’. Chosen by Barb Audiences, these households are chosen to reflect all sectors of the population, with anyone above the age of four eligible for random selection.

Chosen panellists are asked to log who’s watching what, including guests, in exchange for gift vouchers and the thrill of statistical representation. Any watching from as little as 30 seconds is counted as viewing time, with participants required to press the button of their special peoplemeter remotes if they leave the room while the TV is on.

The data organisation says it is rigorous about ensuring data quality, with abnormal viewing habits always double checked with a phone call (“Yes, that’s right I did watch eight hours of Bargain-Loving Brits in the Sun yesterday”).

Viewing minute figures from the panel are then extrapolated to calculate the audience figures for a given programme, with Barb publishing the results. The organisation was set up in 1981 and is jointly owned by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5, Sky and the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising.

Fancy being part of the action? Well tough luck I’m afraid, the Barb panel is an invite only affair, with the panel constantly reassessed to assure it’s representative of the nation.

Top viewed UK broadcasts?

While large-shouldered American men may be the shepherd of Americans, us Brits need more tiaras to get us to a screen, with royal events being responsible for five of the top 10 viewed UK broadcasts according to Barb figures.

Princess Diana’s funeral holds the top spot since Barb began collecting figures in 1981, with the event drawing in 32.1m viewers.

The 2020 UEFA Euro 2020 final comes in second with 29.8m, followed by Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s wedding (28.4m), Boris Johnson’s statement announcing the first Covid-19 lockdown (27.1m) and the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II (26.2m).

You may also like

Leave a Comment

Are you sure want to unlock this post?
Unlock left : 0
Are you sure want to cancel subscription?