Amazon’s first season as an exclusive NFL broadcast partner is in the books, and the results for Thursday Night Football on Prime Video were mixed.
The note that will inevitably eat up all the headlines is that overall viewership tanked. Last year, the package averaged 16.2 million viewers on Fox, NFL Network, Prime Video, and local networks. This year, with Fox and NFL Network dropping out of the equation, viewership fell to 9.58 million viewers (or, based on Amazon’s metrics, 11.3 million).
Thursday Night Football audience
2022: 9.6 million viewers on Amazon Prime/local channels
2021: 16.2 million viewers on Fox/NFL Net/Amazon/local channels
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) January 5, 2023
Of note: the average viewership for Fox’s 2021 package includes the Christmas Day game between the Packers and Browns, which took place on a Saturday and averaged 28.588 million viewers. Excluding that game, the TNF package on Fox averaged 13.335 million viewers in 2021.
That is, naturally, not a great thing. Viewership took a steep drop in a package Amazon is paying billions for over the next decade.
However, as Amazon notes in a press release, there were some positive takeaways from that smaller audience.
Overall, TNF’s audience was much younger in 2022 in 2021. The audience for TNF this season had a median age of 47, compared to 54 for the NFL’s audience on traditional linear TV. The overall audience in the 18-34 demographic increased to 2.11 million viewers, up from 1.90 million for TNF last year. That demographic made up 22% of the overall audience, in contrast to the 14% on linear broadcasts.
The audience was also more engaged, watching 85 minutes on average per game compared to 76 minutes on linear broadcasts, and wealthier, with an average income of $98,500 compared to $82,800 on linear broadcasts.
The 2022 season gave Amazon a lot to build on. Anyone thinking realistically could see that TNF viewership would decline from 2021 to 2022. Losing the NFL Network simulcast wasn’t a huge deal, but games not airing on the Fox broadcast network is a *huge* deal. No matter how bad the matchup, Fox could count on drawing a sizeable audience in primetime for TNF. In year one, that wasn’t immediately true for Amazon. But the audience that was there ticked a lot of boxes that the league, Amazon, and advertisers are looking for – younger, wealthier, and more engaged. That’s a strong foundation going into year two, and a better schedule might end up drawing in more of the audience that Prime Video lost in 2022.