Wednesday, June 9, 2010

TNT Numbers Show Promising Start (Updated)


The six summer races on TNT might go by quickly, but this tech-savvy group usually leaves behind some lasting impressions. Apparently, despite the fact that Pocono is not perhaps the most exciting racetrack, the TNT television coverage and website applications started off with a bang.

Here is the TV data:

According to Nielsen Fast Nationals, TNT’s race coverage delivered a 3.3 US rating and 5,344,000 Total Viewers, becoming the #1 program of the day on ad-supported cable in Households, Total Viewers, Adults 25-54, Men 18-49 and Men 25-54.

TNT’s Sprint Cup Series racing from Pocono delivered more households (3,778,000) than the Stanley Cup Finals on NBC (3,750,000) and MTV Movie Awards (3,274,000)


The more detailed rating specifics will be out later this week, but that certainly brings a little positive news to NASCAR's TV struggles.

A big part of the overall Turner appeal was that the online applications were available to all users for free on Sunday. RaceBuddy, Raceview and Trackpass are all accessed through the NASCAR.com website.

Here are the online numbers during the Pocono race:

NASCAR.COM had over one million unique visitors, an increase of +13% vs. the Pocono race in 2009.

The site received about 7.4 million page views, an increase of +25% vs. the 2009 race at Pocono.

There were 1.5 million visits to the site which is an increase of 16% vs. the 2009 Pocono race.

Total video streams on Sunday (on demand + live) were up 227% YOY to 724,000 streams including the 2010 debut of RaceBuddy, a multiplatform experience which features four camera angles and a mosaic view.


As we have discussed many times, perhaps the biggest hole in Sprint Cup Series exposure is the fact that the pre-race, live race and post-race coverage already done by the existing TV partners is not made available for streaming to desktop and laptop computers. The closest fans can come are the four cameras offered by RaceBuddy. Even the paid NASCAR.com applications have no video features.

When the Turner folks say video streaming was up over two hundred percent, what that really reflects is the rapidly changing demand for online technology and the fact that NASCAR continues to fundamentally fail in this area.

Think about it. We just finished the entire NASCAR on FOX portion of the season without any online video. A feeble attempt late in the season by FOX to provide online post-race video coverage only came after bad national reviews.

Once TNT is done, there are no plans for ESPN to continue RaceBuddy or work with the online rights holder (Turner Sports) to make any additional video content available online. Five races until the online curtain falls yet again for the season.

In today's on demand world, there is simply no excuse for NASCAR, Turner Sports and the NASCAR TV partners not to hammer out an agreement to serve the fans. It should only take ESPN one shining moment to remember what the NFL regular season did to NASCAR on TV last year. RaceBuddy should be the immediate response.

Update: The extended ratings information is out and reveals a slight drop in total number of viewers vs. last season. Targets like men, age groups and cable competition remained the same.

Here is the information from Scene Daily:

TNT averaged a 3.1 final U.S. rating for the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 Sunday at Pocono Raceway, down 8.8 percent from the 3.4 national rating a year ago, according to Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Daily.

The race drew 3.614 million households on TNT on the same day as the NBA Finals on ABC (which drew 10.545 million households), the NHL Stanley Cup Finals on NBC (3.75 million) and the MTV Movie Awards (3.274 million), according to the SBD figures from Nielsen.

The race, which delayed by one and forty minutes due to rain, was Sunday’s top telecast on cable among men 18-49 and 25-54.


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19 comments:

Jonathan said...

Well JD I know your able to communicate with the networks, please try to hammer this home! This could make or break are sport this year! I dont know I just feel this Championship race is going to come down to the wire and it would be such a shame if we didnt get "racebuddy" throughout the Chase! Look the proof is right there you want new fans and younger fans well this is it plain and simple! Fox's numbers were down what 22% or worse with the younger audience, but not TNT why??? RACEBUDDY This is great news plus cant wait to hear what comes from the Town Hall meetings this week!

Nascar, ESPN, FOX, TNT get something worked out please this will save are sport!!!!!!!!

GinaV24 said...

I have used Trackpass to follow the races ever since it was first offered. RaceBuddy adds a whole new element to being able to follow a race on TV and is great. I wish that is was available for the entire season.

Pretty telling that the ratings improved AFTER Fox went away. Last year I was unhappy with Fox's coverag and this year was even worse.

TNT's style of covering the races is just plain more professional (except for maybe the ill-advised addition of Phil Parsons on pit road). I don't feel like an agenda is being pushed with TNT, it is a more relaxed and enjoyable viewing experience. Did I say how much I like RaceBuddy? LOL

NASCAR.com is one of the worst websites though - I very seldom go there for racing information.

The thing that scares me most however is that ESPN takes over AFTER TNT. Their Nationwide coverage has improved, but I'm really nervous about what happens in Cup -- if it becomes ALL CHASE ALL the TIME, they will lose this viewer.

JohnP said...

TDP Said: "When the Turner folks say video streaming was up over two hundred percent, what that really reflects is the rapidly changing demand for online technology and the fact that NASCAR continues to fundamentally fail in this area."

I'm going to play devil's advocate on this. We do this all the time at work.

I ponder this question back. Is that rapidly changing demand a result of fans truly wanting information/streaming online? Or the fact that ESPN in the last half of the 2009 season and FOX on the first half in 2010 season totally failed to produce that information in the first place with quality race coverage for fans to watch?

Anonymous said...

The reason the ratings were good (in my opinion) is the fact the race was actually run later in the day.

NASCAR really needs to rethink the earlier start times for next year.

saltsburgtrojanfan said...

Anon @ 9:32 AM

The fans complained about later start times because of fans getting home late b/c they have to go to work and the networks ABC moving the race to another channel due to primetime. So, later start times are not in the offing. I do know what you mean though.

Sorry JD, but I had to respond to that comment

batchief said...

As a Fox supporter I say, "Congrats to TNT" and keep it going. To me one networks success can only help the sport and the other two networks.

GinaV24 said...

Anon -- I know as a race fan going TO races in person I don't want later start times. It wastes a bigger portion of the day, plus you run into weather issues and then trying to travel home to get back to work. Having the start time be 1 p.m. local time works for me.

I'm with Jonathan on this -- I really wish all the TV partners would get this worked out so that Racebuddy is available.

JohnP - you raise excellent points -- I know that I was so sick of Fox and I'm still worrying about what ESPN's coverage will really be like, so TNT's coverage just shines in all the silliness that Fox insists upon and ESPN's Chase "script" is looming. That could be why ratings are up - even if TNT has to cover some of the most boring racing on the schedule.

Charlie said...

It is to bad that since they improved Race Buddy that it will not work smoothly on a low end computer like I have.
Last year and once this year Race Buddy worked fine. Now they went and changed it and now the pictures are jerky.
Hope they can fix this because I enjoyed using Race Buddy but can't anymore.

Tom said...

Personally not as interested in the online component, but just happy to have a fun (not ridiculous) place to watch the race. The race was pedestrian, but I still enjoyed the broadcast. I think there is too much information so the race itself becomes unimportant. The racing 25 years ago wasn't any better, but except for 10 minutes before, 15 after, and a 30 min. show during the week, that was our race coverage. You bet we watched every second of it. Now I am glad that there is a WT and SR, but I think the availability of daily news makes watching the race less important. If the racing isn't great, I can always catch the 5 or 10 minute version pretty much all week.

Tom
Inverness, FL

Anonymous said...

Really enjoyed the coverage on TNT.Everything just seems to be done professionally ,not a lot of silly antics like Fox wants to project.We are not too concerned with ESPN coming on board. Nothing could possible be any worse than watching a good race only to have it screwed up by the likes of DW.Fox has dug themselves a hole and our wish is for them to now bury themselves.

Anonymous said...

Thank God no more (Darrell) Boogity, Boogity, Boogity, let's go racing boys!!, or (Larry Mac) he just ran the fastest lap (800 times each broadcast). It is getting so old. It got so bad watching FOX, I had to turn the sound off. TNT guys are much more professional. And much more enjoyable.

Brendan said...

Quite honestly the ratings stayed about flat with FOX as far as I can tell. Down 8.8 percent. Wasn't FOX down between 6 and 8 percent as well? (which actually isn't terrible considering the first three races were significantly down due to the Olympics, the series showed gains through late April and early May).

Anonymous said...

I'm not one who cares whether there is a race buddy or not. But I still enjoyed the TNT broadcast much better than FOX. I really hope FOX changes it's on air crew. I do feel TNT made a mistake by not using Mark Fein anymore and relying so heavily on Larry Mac during the rain delay. His stating how everything NASCAR has done has been great and that the way they handled the track patch as " BRILLIANT" was certainly over the top.I think Larry is a nice guy but he's no TV broadcaster, what he did for TNT last year was OK. Once in a while usung him for tech updates is what he does best.

Anonymous said...

ESPN will cover the chase because the rest of the drivers are not driving for the championship.They are running to finish 13th or worse.If this were football do you think they would cover the last place team or the one fighting for the championship.No brainer.I do agree that everybody needs to wake up to much more online content as that is where the real information is found now days.Lets just hope we get good races,with good coverage of the chasers and some online content. I am sure I am asking for way too much.

Darcie said...

Wouldn't one think that if a particular network succeeds, and if that network succeeds and shares the secret of that success, that ALL would succeed? I just don't understand why these networks cannot cooperate with each other. If ESPN or Fox realize that something like RaceBuddy is popular and that it will bring fans, why can't the other networks wake up and put their egos aside and make this work? Oh, I forgot. This whole mess is probably a continuation of that lovely male mantra, "Mine is bigger/better/faster than yours".

And, did you all hear, that TLC has FINALLY decided to cancel the proposed show "Nascar Wives"? It was reported in USA Today that there was a problem with someone wanting to stage the so-called "real life events" of the wives and no one would cooperate. Gosh, reality shows that are faked? Imagine my surprise.

Daly Planet Editor said...

Darcie,

The NASCAR TV folks are just talking about that series being cancelled now, some two years after it happened.

When the show did not appear on the TLC schedule, neither the network, the NASCAR Media Group or DeLana Harvick (listed as Executive Producer) had a comment.

JD

Zieke said...

Surprising that TNT could even get the ratings they did at Pocono. BORING. NASCAR needs to have only one race there and shorten it by a 100k or so. But at least we had some professionalism in the broadcast booth. How refreshing. Bye FOX, and please send the Waltrips to Wal-Mart.

Adam Wood said...

SPEEDTV.com is now advertising FOXSports.com's RaceTrax. It's a live leaderboard. Guess they think that will compete with RaceBuddy.

Richard in N.C. said...

I do now wonder to what extent (if any) the ratings for NHL, NBA, and NFL might be increased by the amount of gambling there is on the outcomes?