Survey: Quality of ‘Thursday Night Football’ Games Has Little Effect on Audience; Games Drove Engagement to Prime Video Shows
All eyes in the media world were on Prime Video this football season. The 2022 NFL season was the first in which Prime Video became the primary home of “Thursday Night Football” telecasts. Games were also broadcast on TV in local markets, but other than that, the only way to watch “TNF” was via Amazon’s flagship streaming service.
Results from Amazon’s standpoint on the 2022 “TNF” season were decidedly mixed. Prime Video saw a drop in viewers of 41% on average over the 2021 season when games were more widely available via FOX and the NFL Network. On the other hand, younger viewers tuned in to “TNF” at an 11% higher rate in 2022 than they did in 2021.
A new report from content intelligence company Diesel Labs adds even more context to the numbers for “TNF’s” first season as a primarily streaming product. The report shows that for the first five weeks of the 2022 season, “TNF” garnered better audience attention numbers than it did in 2021. But by Week Eight that trend had reversed, and 2021 games outpaced their 2022 counterparts every week after that.
One might think that the drop-off was due to the scoring or other facets dealing with the quality of games themselves, but Diesel’s survey indicates that isn’t the case. The final score differential did not have a meaningful impact on audience attention for “TNF” games in 2021 or 2022.
High-scoring games also did not tend to attract more viewers than low-scoring games, Diesel’s data found. Audiences tended to engage at similar rates with Thursday games no matter what the final point total was.
So what can the decline in “TNF” ratings in 2022 be attributed to? Likely a combination of factors, including waning interest in the teams playing in a given week, and increased distractions for consumers as the holidays approached.
The best news for Prime Video in the Diesel survey was the amount of engagement “TNF” drove for other products on the service. The data showed that 5.41% of the 2022 “TNF” audience also watched “Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power” on the service, as compared to 3.75% of the 2021 audience.
That means that when people see ads for Prime Video shows while watching “TNF,” they’re more likely to engage. “Rings of Power” was advertised heavily on “TNF,” as its debut episode was released just one week before the start of the NFL season.
The success of “Rings of Power” amongst “TNF” audiences may drive Amazon to create more prestige-type shows in the future. “TNF” is clearly a powerful advertising platform for Prime Video, despite the fact that it drew fewer viewers over the course of the season on average in 2022. The engagement numbers with “Rings of Power” could convince Amazon that such shows are worth the risk, despite the expense involved in bringing them to life.
Prime Video will be the exclusive streaming home of “TNF” for at least the next nine seasons, so it has some time to figure out how to bring older viewers to the service. But the viewers it already has might drive more content creation on Prime Video, especially if they continue to engage its shows at a higher rate.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video is a subscription video streaming service that includes on-demand access to 10,000+ movies, TV shows, and Prime Originals like “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” “Jack Ryan,” “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” “The Boys,” and more. Subscribers can also add third-party services like Showtime, and Starz with Amazon Prime Video Channels.
Prime Video offers exclusive live access to NFL Thursday Night Football.
Prime Video is included with Amazon Prime for $12.99 per month ($119 per year), or can be purchased on its own for $8.99 per month.