Super Bowl viewer ratings down from a year ago
By Liana B. Baker
(Reuters) - Sunday's close Super Bowl contest between the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers failed to beat last year's game in total viewers, CBS Corp said on Monday.
An average of 108.41 million viewers tuned in, compared with 111.3 million a year ago when the New York Giants defeated the New England Patriots on NBC. CBS said it was the third-most-watched program in television history, behind last year's Super Bowl and 2011's match-up between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Green Bay Packers, which garnered 111 million viewers.
CBS did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether a 35-minute partial electrical blackout in the third quarter of the game affected ratings. Advertisers paid $4 million on average for a 30-second spot during the game.
Late Sunday, CBS said in a statement that "all commercial commitments during the broadcast are being honored."
CBS also said that a record 164.1 million people watched all or part of the telecast for at least six minutes. This measurement is up 3 percent from 159.2 million a year ago.
National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters on Monday an investigation was under way to determine the cause of the disruption. He said there was no indication that Beyonce's halftime show had anything to do with the outage.
CBS said earlier on Monday that the telecast earned an average overnight household rating of 48.1 in Nielsen's metered markets, up 1 percent compared with last year's Super Bowl. CBS said the rating excludes the blackout, which occurred just after the start of the second half, between 8:45 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. Nielsen's "metered markets" represent the top 56 U.S. TV markets.
The highest-rated period during Sunday's Super Bowl occurred from 10:30 p.m. to 10:47 p.m., when the game came down to the wire and the Ravens were able to hold off a furious second-half comeback by the 49ers to win 34-31. CBS said that over those 17 minutes, an average of 113.92 million viewers were tuned in. Continued...