- Amazon is paying US$1bn a season for 15 games
- Company says it averaged 15.3m viewers across all platforms
Amazon’s debut broadcast of the National Football League’s (NFL) Thursday Night Football (TNF) last week attracted an average audience of 13 million people, according to data released by ratings specialist Nielsen.
The clash between the Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Chargers was the first to be covered as part of Amazon’s 11-year US$1 billion-a-season domestic rights partnership with the NFL, which has never previously sold an entire package of matchups to a streaming service.
While Amazon will judge the success of the partnership in terms of sign-ups to its Prime subscription service, the league and advertisers will be keen to know just how many people are actually watching the games now they are no longer on linear television.
Accordingly, Amazon has enlisted the support of Nielsen to provide independent data which includes not just viewers on the company’s own platforms, but also simulcasts on Twitch, and local broadcasts.
Accordingly, the 13 million headline figure also includes viewers who watched on local stations in Kansas City and Los Angeles. It does not, however, take into account the number of people who watched the game in a public venue on DirecTV.
Despite one or two teething problems, Amazon’s production received positive reviews and generated the most Prime sign-ups for a single day on record. But even in this brave new world of streaming, the US media landscape is dominated by ratings and the industry had been waiting for a week to see just how successful the broadcast had been.
While Amazon can obviously see how many people are tuning into its platform internally (and is claiming more than 15 million viewers), the involvement of Nielsen lends additional credibility and allows the viewing figures to be compared to linear television. Indeed, this is the first time Nielsen has provided ratings for a streamed programme.
The audience has exceeded expectations and compares favourably with the 12.8 million average Thursday Night Football attracted on Fox. It was the most watched broadcast of the evening and also attracted more younger viewers than usual.
All of these metrics will be music to the ears of the NFL as it prepares to deepen its ties with streaming when it sells the rights to Sunday Ticket.