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Amazon Compensates ‘Thursday Night Football’ Advertisers

  • Tech giant issues ‘make-goods’ for audience shortfalls.
  • Amazon says it worked hard to ‘deliver on our commitments.’
Thursday Night Football media setup on sideline game between San Francisco 49ers and Houston Texans
Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Amazon says it has compensated advertisers for lower-than-expected “Thursday Night Football” viewership this season.

The streaming giant would not comment on how and where it made TNF advertisers whole. But the vast majority of the “make-goods,” or free compensatory ads, were issued during the 2022 NFL season, said sources.  

“We are very pleased with the viewership and customer feedback for the first season of Thursday Night Football on Prime Video and first-ever full package of NFL games exclusively provided by a streaming service,” an Amazon spokesperson said in a statement. 

“Through the 2022 season, TNF averaged 11.3M viewers according to Amazon’s first-party measurement and the median age was the youngest in a decade for a full-season NFL package. We worked closely with our advertising partners throughout the season to deliver on our commitments, and we look forward to creating even more opportunities and innovations next season.”

Amazon Delivers Younger Audience in First Season Broadcasting NFL

Amazon’s competitors hoped it would flop with ‘Thursday Night Football.’
January 10, 2023

In the first of its 11-year, $11 billion deal to exclusively stream TNF through 2033, Amazon showed 15 regular season and one pre-season game.

The giant streamer had a strong debut season, attracting a younger, more affluent audience than the NFL’s traditional linear TV partners: Fox Sports, NBC Sports, CBS Sports, and ESPN.

TNF viewers, for example, had a median age of 47 years old. That’s seven years younger than the average NFL viewer on legacy networks.

But as expected, the NFL’s decision to exclusively stream TNF (except in the local TV market) led to lower viewership than last year’s tri-cast across Fox, NFL Network, and Amazon.

Nielsen pegged Amazon’s average TNF viewership at 9.6 million, while Amazon’s internal metrics indicated 11.3 million.

In an apples-to-apples comparison between Thursday night-only telecasts, Amazon’s 9.6 million average would be down 28% from 13.4 million last year. 

In an apples-to-oranges comparison (that included a Saturday Christmas Day game on Fox that drew a monster 29 million viewers), Amazon would be down 41% from last year’s tricast average of 16.2 million viewers

Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders perform at half-time of NFL game

The NFL and Amazon’s Black Friday Experiment

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The tech giant has been “scrambling” to make advertisers whole, Business Insider reported this week. That included giving clients inventory on Prime Video streams and other Amazon-owned platforms.

“But advertisers are likely to give Amazon a pass overall, given this was the first season for a streaming-only ‘TNF,’” wrote BI. “Also, Amazon was flexible on ad pricing and has a wide array of offerings — from Freevee and Twitch — that it can leverage to make up for any audience shortfall.”
Next season, Amazon will stream 16 regular season games – including a new Black Friday game – and one pre-season game.

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