All throughout the past month, we’ve covered the World Cup ratings bonanza for broadcasters from ABC, ESPN and Univision in the U.S., to BBC One, ARD, ZDF, and TF1 in Europe, among others. While we know a lot of those numbers don’t take into account folks watching in bars, cafés and town squares, what about fans who were in the air? The sky as a content destination is a fast-growing business with companies like Global Eagle, Gogo and Panasonic Avionics connecting entertainment and airline passengers in new ways. In a historic first, and courtesy of Panasonic’s in-flight Sport 24 channel, Sunday’s World Cup final was shown live by nine international carriers. According to the company, Germany’s defeat of Argentina was seen by 40,000 people, 35,000 feet above Earth. Bloomberg reports the figure is a record for a live in-flight TV broadcast. Throughout the World Cup and across such carriers as Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines and Emirates, Panasonic estimated that 1.5M passengers will have seen the tournament live on its systems. The matches were delivered over satellite WiFi and shown free of charge — in all classes. Carriers in the U.S. also allowed travelers to watch many of the matches via traditional satellite TV services from DirecTV and Dish Network, Forbes reported. ESPN is beamed directly to seat back televisions in many aircraft, but not ABC which showed many weekend games and the final.
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FIFA’s World Cup telecasts continued to absorb American attention on social media every bit as much as they delivered big TV ratings for the fleet of networks carrying games, and it wasn’t just for the U.S. team’s unexpected run into the so-called “knockout rounds.” Even after that foray ended with a 2-1 loss to Belgium (a week after that game, I am not writing “spoiler alert,” dang it), interest and online conversation have continued to be very high.
That said, the Team USA game was a particularly huge conversation piece online, generating nearly 4.7 million posts on Twitter during the game and in the three hours before and after the telecast on four U.S. networks. Those tweets reached an audience of almost 12.4 million viewers, Nielsen calculates.
The BET Awards, the capper to the cable channel’s annual BET Experience that annually overwhelms the L.A. Live entertainment district in downtown Los Angeles, grabbed lots of online attention in this week’s Twitter TV ratings, reaching an unduplicated audience of 9.3 million Twitter users with nearly 10.9 million tweets, far and away the biggest Twitter-borne conversation about any non-sports show. On the sports side of Nielsen’s weekly rundown of TV-related Twitter conversations, it was all FIFA World Cup soccer games, led by matches featuring the teams from the United States and Mexico.
Nielsen’s Twitter TV ratings attempt to measure the unduplicated audience of Twitter users who saw posts about a given broadcast during its first broadcast or within three hours before or after. In this case, the BET Awards overcame an unpromising early summer Sunday schedule to rock it out online, with a staggering number of tweets about the show. I can’t remember any other program in recent months with that many tweets (we’ve only been writing about this stuff since April or so, so mega events such as the Super Bowl and Oscars likely do much better, but then again, not much else has come close here since Deadline began tracking these numbers). There have been other shows that have reached a large audience, given the large followings of those talking about a show. But this show, from a relatively small basic-cable channel, is definitely an online overachiever.
Also of note in this week’s Series and Specials data: the shows that ended up Nos. …
Spoiler Alert if you haven’t seen matches…
UPDATE, 11:45 AM: It was a loss for Mexico to the Netherlands that saw the North American country’s World Cup 2014 dreams end. However, for Univision, the Sunday game was nothing but a win. 10.4 million viewers watched the Spanish language network’s broadcast of the match. That makes Sunday’s game not only the most watched soccer game ever on Univision or any other US-based Spanish language broadcaster but also the most watched telecast ever on the broadcaster or any other any other US-based Spanish language broadcaster. The previous record holder was the 9.0 million who watched the December 3, 2007 broadcast of the telenova Destilando Amor on Univision. Sunday game on Univision also bested ESPN’s broadcast of the Mexico vs. Netherlands match by 57% more in terms of viewers and 68% among Adults 18-49. But that’s also a record in terms of soccer viewership for Univision and any U.S.-based Spanish-language broadcaster.
PREVIOUS, 7:55 AM: Sunday’s World Cup match-ups saw the Netherlands make a late comeback to dash Mexico’s hopes of advancing to the quarter finals, and Costa Rica overtake Greece in a 5-3 penalty shoot out. The matches continued to set new records for ESPN, with both drawing a 4.5 in the overnight ratings. The two Round of 16 matches now rank as the network’s 4th and 5th largest overnight rating for a World Cup match in any round. The …