Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday TV/Media Notes

Here are some mid-week TV and media topics that are in the news:

ESPN on Tuesday afternoon released a carefully worded update on the TV ratings from Loudon, NH. Sunday's race went up against the NFL for the first time this season, but also featured ESPN's Nonstop commercials for the second half and RaceBuddy at the website.

Here is ESPN's media release on the ratings:

ESPN's live telecast of the Sylvania 300 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Sunday, Sept. 25, earned a 3.1 household coverage rating, averaging 4,235,000 viewers, according to the Nielsen Company. The rating was up 19% from last year's New Hampshire race, which also aired on ESPN and earned a 2.6 rating. The telecast also saw double-digit growth in key audience demographics, including a 28% rise in the Male 18-34 demographic and a 20% rise in the Male 18-49 demographic. The audience also saw 33 percent of growth in the Persons 55+ demographic.

Here is the same topic as reported on the Sports Media Watch website:

Ratings and viewership jumped by double-digits for the second race of NASCAR’s Chase For the Cup, but the numbers were still below par.

Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Sylvania 300 from New Hampshire earned a 2.7 U.S. rating and 4.235 million viewers on ESPN, up 17% in ratings and 15% in viewership from last year (2.3, 3.677M), but down 16% in both measures compared to 2009 (3.2, 5.044M, ABC).

Despite the increase, this marks the second-lowest rated, second-least viewed edition of the race over the past ten seasons. As recently as 2008, the race drew a comparably hefty 3.8 rating and 6.098 million viewers on ABC.

While all of this information is technically correct, it certainly is a very good illustration that there are several ways to present the same NASCAR TV information.

As continuing proof of the New World Order inside NASCAR's marketing and media relations arm, the release of the 2012 Sprint Cup Series schedule on Wednesday will be a coordinated online event.

At noon ET the new schedule will be posted at the website. Then, NASCAR VP Steve O'Donnell will take Twitter comments and questions from fans and the media about the new schedule. For Twitter veterans, there is a #2012schedule hashtag being used for the conversation.

Speaking of Twitter, Ricky Craven signed-on this week and can be found at @RickyCravenESPN. Nice to have him in the social media pipeline.

Many fans this week have been asking about the changes to the NASCAR Now series on ESPN2. The network has a new emphasis on talk shows in the afternoon and has created a multi-hour block. That pushed NASCAR Now forward to the 3PM Eastern timeslot.

The network also has changed the late night schedule and that has eliminated the West Coast airing of the show. Despite ESPN downplaying the situation, this is the only "support series" for NASCAR on the TV network carrying the final seventeen Sprint Cup Series races.

While the Sunday morning preview show and the Sunday night review show remain, it's a cruel blow for NASCAR fans who watched Allen Bestwick, Craven and others work so hard to make these weekday shows well worth watching. Needless to say, these changes do not bode well for NASCAR Now continuing to be on the schedule in 2012.

This week's double top-secret NASCAR Fan Council survey was focused on the new ESPN Nonstop commercial format. Fans were asked if it made a difference in the way they watched the race. Also on the agenda were questions about the use of social media and online applications while watching the live race telecast.

If you are not a viewer of SPEED Center, you may have missed the Sunday debut of Ray Evernham as SPEED's NASCAR studio analyst. This is a similar role to Craven on ESPN2. Evernham can be seen on the Sunday preview show at 10:30AM and the night time review show at 11PM ET.

It's a very strange time for a TV network to add an analyst, but Evernham brings a unique perspective to the sport and helps to establish another NASCAR perspective outside of the NASCAR Media Group produced RaceDay and Victory Lane shows.

ESPN has a doubleheader this weekend with Marty Reid calling the Saturday afternoon Nationwide Series race and Allen Bestwick handling the Sprint Cup Series action on Sunday from Dover. SPEED has the trucks on Saturday night from Kentucky Speedway on a weekend shared with the IndyCar Series.

Please feel free to post your comments on any of the topics mentioned above. To add your opinion, just click on the comments button below. Thanks for stopping by.