No Images? Click here


Last year, in the fall season, the top 20 rated TV shows were all National Football League  games. In fact, 45 of the top 50 rated shows were NFL games.

It is difficult to over-estimate the importance of pro football to network television. NFL football is network television's money machine. To get an idea of its importance:

   - Between 2014 and 2022 media companies will pay the NFL $40 billion for broadcast rights.
   - By 2018, broadcast rights are projected to exceed ticket sales.
   - In 1998, over half of NFL fans said they would rather be at a game than watch it on TV. By 2011 over 70% said they'd rather watch it at home.

But NFL football has suffered a major shock this fall. Ratings for the first few weeks are down almost 15%. This is a stunner.

And the drop off can't be attributed to a general drop in TV viewing. It is specific to the NFL. According to the Pivotal Research Group, during the first 5 weeks of the season...

   - Total TV viewing from all sources is slightly up
   - College football viewing is essentially flat

Who is dropping off? Once again, according to Pivotal...

   - Declines are more pronounced in blue collar households than white collar
   - Declines are more pronounced in lower income households than higher income
   - Declines are more pronounced among white households than black

So what's going on? According to a poll conducted by Yahoo Sports, the primary driver of the ratings drop may be Colin Kaepernick. From a New York magazine article about the Yahoo Sports research...

   "...29 percent of NFL fans are watching less football than in years past. Of that group, 40 percent blame the national anthem protests started in the preseason by Colin Kaepernick. That was an especially popular reason for those 55 and over. Fifty-three percent of that group cited protests as their main reason for avoiding the NFL..."

The NFL has denied this. According to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell...

   “We don’t think we’ve lost viewers, and I think when you look at ratings you have to go a little deeper than that,” he said. “There’s viewers, but also how long they’re engaging for. A lot of times, people will leave a game for whatever reason, whether they’re going to go to other programming, or whether the game is less competitive.”

I have no idea what the hell that statement means but Goodell, not famous for brilliant insights, is understandably covering for Kaepernick and the NFL.

Whatever you may think of the protests, there's one thing that's pretty clear - they don't seem to be doing the NFL owners or the broadcast industry any good.


Ad Industry Doubles Down On Surveillance


Apparently it is not bad enough that the public is thoroughly fed up with online advertising.

It is not bad enough that 80% of the people who know about the existence of ad blockers use them.

It is not bad enough that 400 million people worldwide have ad blockers on their devices and that the number is sure to increase by double digits again this year.

It is not bad enough that that nearly 2/3 of the demographic group that marketers are totally obsessed with -- millennials -- have installed ad blockers.

It is not bad enough that the online advertising industry tracks our every move and uses it to annoy the hell out of us with horrible, relentless display ads.

Now the advertising industry, in the form of the the 4As, the AAF, the ANA, the DMA, and the IAB have ganged up to lobby the FCC to reject privacy rules that would prohibit broadband providers like AT&T, Comcast, Verizon, and Charter from also collecting and utilizing sensitive data about our web activities for ad targeting.

The FCC originally were considering regulations that would widely forbid the use of personal information by broadband providers without users' permission. It recently scaled back this proposed rule to prohibit only the use of "sensitive information."

The new definition of "sensitive information" includes: content of emails, physical location of smart phones (in other words, your physical location), websites you've been to, and apps you've used.

The new rules will only allow for tracking by broadband providers if you "opt-in." As far as I'm concerned, only a moron would opt-in to this.

The ad industry is fighting this and wants to force us to "opt-out" if we don't want to be tracked by broadband providers. This is like the long-standing opt-out gimmick "ad choices" that currently governs much of web tracking -- a bad joke that no one understands.

We are playing with fire. The more we in the ad industry abuse personal privacy, the closer we are coming to the point at which consumer and governmental revulsion about our practices are going to come back to bite us in the ass.


All previous newsletters can be found here.   Subscribe to Type A Group newsletters here.