How Big is a Big Audience?

Every advertiser wants a big audience. But with new media, how big is big? How many people can we really consider “a lot” – and how do we reach them?

If you look back on the history of blockbuster or cliffhanger programming, nothing comes close to power of the Super Bowl. The 2016 Super Bowl drew 111 million, the Oscars were second at 36 million and the Grammy’s third at 25 million.

The dirty truth is that these days, outside of these “big three,” nothing on TV comes close.

The largest non-Super Bowl audience was the 1983 MASH finale that drew nearly 105 million, followed by 1993 Cheers finale at 85 million, and 1998 Seinfeld finale at 75 million.

There was a time when top shows like American Idol would draw 25 million but those days are gone. In recent years the largest viewership were the Tonight Show with Jay Leno in 2014 with 14.6 million viewers, the Late Show with David Letterman in 2015 with 13.7 million, and the finale of Two and half Men in 2015 with 13.5 million. Compare these numbers from top TV shows in the 80s and 90s. The difference is not only undeniable – it’s massive.

Now, let’s look at some different numbers.

You Tube has over a billion users, almost one-third of the people on the internet. The top ranked viral video of all time is Charlie bit my finger with 836,831,762 views since it went live in 2007. Not to be out done PSY- “Gangnam Style” has seen 2.53 Billion views since it went live in 2012.

Digital media is reaching more people every day than the most-watched live TV commercials of all time. Advertisers and media planners are starting to focus their efforts to the slightly smaller screens – and if they aren’t, they should.

Clearly there is nothing like the reach of nonDVRable media, but today scoring big audiences does not have to include coughing up the millions it takes for top television. Digital video has become a powerful medium. And while the ROI of a viral video maybe spectacular, savvy marketers understand how difficult it is to actual catch lightning in a bottle. The pressure is on to find and harness the next innovative creative media solution.

One thought on “How Big is a Big Audience?

  1. Great article Matt! Putting the numbers together between television hits, and digital media really puts things in perspective. It makes me recognize that my next steps need to be qualifying the demographics behind these new dynamic numbers. Thank you!

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