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CBS Saturates Super Bowl with Self Promotion

As you know, the Super Bowl moves around from network to network, depending on the year and the dollars bid. This year, CBS hosted the network broadcast, which was reported to have reached 100 million viewers globally. An interesting development emerged in the first half, and prior to the now infamous power outage, whereby CBS seemed to be promoting their shows more than networks in years past.

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As Twitter exploded with comments about this advertising pattern, the Media Measurement team at Universal Information Services decided to compare the first half of the 2012 Super Bowl to the first half of the 2013 Super Bowl. By looking at all commercials between kickoff and the end of the first half, we uncovered some interesting statistics:

  • Total Number of NBC commercials promoting their own programming equaled six (6) in 2012
  • Total Number of CBS commercials promoting their own programming equaled thirteen (13) in 2013
  • CBS had a run of three (3) back to back, self promoting ads right at the end of the first half of play in 2013
  • CBS heavily used the slots just before returning to football play to quickly advertise their shows

So what does this all mean? In our analysis, it means either CBS thought that promoting their programming was more beneficial than getting paid an additional $28,000,000 from sponsored ads, or they may not have sold all their available slots. At an estimated $4,000,000 per 30 second advertisement, it begs the question: Did CBS not sell all their ad slots or are they hoarding them? Have we reached the point where there aren’t enough companies that can justify the cost in advertising, or is this a new advertising model that CBS has stumbled upon?

It’s possible that the long term impact of getting a percentage of Super Bowl watchers to begin tuning in to CBS programs is far greater than $28,000,000. By filling ad spots that promote programs like NCIS or The Big Bang Theory, does CBS expect to reap audience and dollar benefits over the entire run of a series? Would that surpass the estimated $28,000,000 in foregone sponsored ads?

Tell us what you think about this more than 100% increase in network promotion advertising year over year. New trend, failed strategy, or is CBS crazy like a fox (Not the Fox Network)?

4 Comments on “CBS Saturates Super Bowl with Self Promotion”

  1. 1 When there’s an audience, self-promotion always makes sense | Virtual Realty Income said at 10:12 am on February 21st, 2013:

    […] at 10:31 p.m. EST won a household rating of 47.4, according to Kantar Media), but the network also significantly increased its advertising efforts since the Super Bowl of 2012, with 13 ads for its own programming between […]

  2. 2 When there’s an audience, self-promotion always makes sense - OneScreen said at 1:37 pm on February 21st, 2013:

    […] 10:31 p.m. EST won a household rating of 47.4, according to Kantar Media), but the network also significantly increased its advertising efforts since the Super Bowl of 2012, with 13 ads for its own programming between […]

  3. 3 Will Super Bowl ads become more expensive despite lower rating? » BertJanBrands.com BertJanBrands.com said at 5:56 am on March 6th, 2013:

    […] as the day after the Super Bowl, the prime-time lineup showed very lit­tle growth in rat­ings. Universal-Info sug­gests CBS missed out on $28 mil­lion in ad rev­enue because their […]

  4. 4 When there’s an audience, self-promotion always makes sense | Atul Patel said at 4:20 am on May 9th, 2014:

    […] 10:31 p.m. EST won a household rating of 47.4, according to Kantar Media), but the network also significantly increased its advertising efforts since the Super Bowl of 2012, with 13 ads for its own programming between […]


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