Analyst sees "The Voice" as ratings help for NBC


NBC just may have given a boost to its ratings-challenged primetime schedule with its use of the valuable Super Bowl lead in. The season premiere of “The Voice” got the prized position and Barclays Capital analyst Anthony DiClemente is calling it a successful touchdown play.

“NBC’s coverage of Super Bowl XLVI delivered on what were lofty expectations for a premier matchup between the New York Giants and New England Patriots. The game secured 40.5 rating and 78 share, up 1.5% from last year’s contest, and the highest 18-49 rating in 16 year,” DiClemente wrote in his analysis of the latest week’s ratings.

“The decision to live stream the game for the first time did not appear to impact linear viewership and likely materially increased the overall audience for the year’s most watched event. Factoring in the Super Bowl’s massive audience, NBC finished the week with a 7.4 rating and 19.2 share, finishing well ahead of Fox (1.9 rating/ 4.8 share) in 2nd place,” the analyst noted.

But it was assumed that the Super Bowl would be the most watched TV program of the week – and almost certainly the year, unless something really unusual occurs. So the challenge to NBC was to make good use of the huge audience lead-in to try to attract viewers to its primetime lineup, which continues to languish in 4th place.

“After the game, NBC eschewed most of its post-game coverage to air the season premiere of The Voice, which did not disappoint with a 16.3 rating and 37 share. On Monday, the program was able to maintain some of its momentum with an impressive 6.7 rating and 17 share, a positive indicator for this week’s ratings. While NBC may not have the same breadth of hits as its competitors, we believe The Voice should help narrow the gap,” DiClemente said in applauding the NBC programming move.

RBR-TVBR observation: “The Voice” alone is not going to drive Comcast’s stock price. For that matter, NBC alone isn’t going to drive Comcast’s stock price. But having the deep-pockets parent gives NBC the financial maneuvering room to methodically improve its weak primetime lineup. The decision to slot The Voice after the big game certainly worked. There will be more opportunities to promote NBC shows during the Summer Olympics. Of course, the challenge is for the Peacock Network to find more shows that are worth promoting.