The NFL’s ratings have been a hot topic of discussion, but it isn’t always apparent just how much a dip may damage broadcasters’ bottom lines. That’s the focus of a Hollywood Reporter piece by Paul Bond and Georg Szalai published Wednesday, though, which features several Wall Street analysts discussing if NFL ratings will stay down and what they might mean for media companies’ bottom lines. Here’s a look at the most important part, discussing the second week of the season being down 15 per cent year over year (and that’s from 2016, a year where ratings already fell 8 per cent overall from the previous year): Guggenheim Securities analyst Michael Morris said he had been optimistic heading into the new season because audiences would appreciate some changes, including fewer commercial breaks and allowing players to creatively celebrate touchdowns. Now, though, he says, “early results do not support this optimism.” Jefferies analyst John Janedis figures CBS, ESPN, Fox and NBC will generate about $2.5 billion in NFL advertising revenue this season, but a 10 percent shortfall could translate to a $200 million cut in earnings. Since the NFL season opened Sept. 7, shares of NBC parent Comcast are off 9 percent, ESPN parent Disney has seen its stock drop 3 percent and shares of CBS are down 5 percent. Only shares of 21st Century Fox have risen in that time frame, up 2 percent. “Continued declines in NFL ratings again this season will likely place further downward pressure on media stocks,” said Morris. He added, in fact, that “the NFL is an indicator of overall primetime programming ratings performance.” Janedis’ projection of a $200 million cut in earnings across the four NFL broadcasters shows just how much of an impact any NFL ratings downturn can have on bottom lines. And that stock movement likely has something to do with it; of course, Comcast, CBS, Disney and 21st Century Fox all have tons of business ventures apart from the NFL or even sports in general, but a continued NFL downturn (especially after many forecast the league’s ratings would trend back towards its previous numbers this year) will have a significant impact on their revenues.
If NFL ratings stay low, broadcasters could see a $200 million earnings hit
Awful Announcing | Sep 22