Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

April 4, 2012

IndyCar Television Ratings: The Most Misunderstood, Misinterpreted Thing Ever

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 12:49 pm

This will sound arrogant to some but is entirely unintended. The way in which I make my living and pay the bills is helping cable television networks manage their operations; everything from getting programming on the air to selling commercials and managing all workflow. Doing that for a living gives me insight others do not have. If you are a carpenter and can build a house, my hat is off to you. I do not have that skill. If you are a gearhead and can take a motor apart, put it back together and make it run better than ever, you have my undying respect. Whatever you are good at you should be proud.

In that spirit may I just proclaim that angst over Googled 12+ overnight ratings spouted by mostly incomprehensibly ignorant naysayers on the Internet after every IndyCar event constitutes some of the most entertaining, whacko banter anywhere? The most excruciating reality of this phenomenon is knowing we have to put up with it more than a dozen more times this year. Again.

If anyone actually lent credence to the meanderings of such willfully retarded individuals common sense might suggest IndyCar should have been out of business over ten years ago. And yet it is now profitable. Go figure.

12+ overnights are vanity numbers that mean nothing in the actual commerce of cable television advertising. What matters is how actual numbers are sliced and diced into their demographic components. Those are the revenue generating numbers that are packaged, sold and analyzed. And unless/until the Internet television executives are willing to shell out tens of thousands of dollars to get a peek they remain in a position of absolute and sheer ignorance.  I could count the number of heartbeats a person generates in a minute and proclaim myself a cardiologist, but that would actually make me insane.

So please, while the season is still young, pay attention to things that are important in the sport. 12+ overnights aren’t. Unless you are ignorant.



  1. Yep…The who’s watching is much more important than the how many, unless the how many is so large that it contains the important who’s by its sheer magnitude.

    Comment by JPindycar — April 4, 2012 @ 1:17 pm | Reply

  2. Yea, I thought it was wrong of Jenna Fryer to compare this years overnight with last years final. Those numbers for finals on these smaller networks tend to be higher than the overnight. And those overnight numbers are the cake.

    Try explaining that on Track Forum.

    Comment by Mike Miller — April 4, 2012 @ 1:53 pm | Reply

  3. Good points. Too many get caught up in the ‘how many’ rather than the ‘who’ are watching. That being said, it would be easier to make your points if Indycar elected to release their key metrics to the public. Also, when the 12+ numbers look good, I would suggest you haven’t been hesitant in the past to trumpet them as evidence of the success of the series. (Or when NASCAR’s 12+ is down, using said numbers as evidence that they are losing popularity.). The people the numbers really matter to are the guys at IICS trying to sell them, and the people out there thinking about buying them. Period.

    But, ‘this may sound arrogant to some but is entirely unintended’? Defender, please. Don’t insult our intelligence. You haven’t written an unintentionally arrogant word since you started this blog four years ago. If you didn’t want to be arrogant, you wouldn’t characterize some as ‘retarded’ or ‘ignorant’. You can write without the condescension, but you don’t. It’s your schtick to write as you do; I get it. But don’t pretend you don’t intend to be exactly what you are. You’re embarrassing yourself when you try.

    Comment by Steven Kornya — April 4, 2012 @ 3:33 pm | Reply

  4. funny….never saw you take that stance when discussing champ car ratings. But what do i know…I’m not in the business.
    Editor’s Note: I tend not to consider infomercials that are purchased as opposed to generating revenue.

    Comment by J.B. — April 4, 2012 @ 3:39 pm | Reply

  5. “disciple” you could take a lesson or 25,00o from what an unbiased fact reporting article looks like….
    Editor’s Note: Not bad for an opinion piece. I still wish pundits could develop an original thought that did not involve the now-16-year-old ‘split.’

    Comment by birel 0499 — April 4, 2012 @ 6:17 pm | Reply

  6. Yup. And that’s why CNBC can charge similar ad rates for programs almost no one watches as pro wrestling, which millions view. Of course, where are the volumes of high end sponsors for Indycar? They’re present in golf. They’re present in tennis. So where’s Cadillac? Tag Heuer? Starwood? Airlines? Financial Groups? Alcohol not distilled in Indiana? Oh, I know. “They’re missing out on a golden opportunity with the best deal in sponsorship.” Keep saying that. Maybe one day it becomes true!
    Editor’s Note: The money spent by IndyCar sponsors is just as green and spends just as well as the ‘blue chips’ you have subjectively chosen. Starwood, by the way, is the official hotel provider for IndyCar.

    Comment by cashmoneytrillionaires — April 4, 2012 @ 7:09 pm | Reply

    • The money presently spent by Indycar’s sponsors leads us to ride buyers and street courses while providing precious little in activation. You must intrinsically be aware of this fact and how it is that Indycar claims to be profitable at this stage because you complain about it regularly. Complain if you want about who I chose for “blue chip” sponsors – that’s who supports low viewership programming that costs money to put on. You know…like golf. And tennis. And right now, those sponsors either aren’t biting or basically aren’t activating their sponsorship. You know, like Starwood.
      Editor’s Note: So when is it all going to go teats north due to the lack of all these blue chip sponsors, Einstein?

      Comment by cashmoneytrillionaires — April 4, 2012 @ 9:10 pm | Reply

      • Obviously “never” because Indycar is healthier and better than it has ever been before. It will ride aging CART drivers, foreign ride buyers, street circuits, and spec cars to eternal and never ending financial success. Right?
        Editor’s Note: That is what the current management believes.

        Comment by cashmoneytrillionaires — April 4, 2012 @ 11:38 pm

  7. For St. Pete, they were 1.1 share for the overnight, down from 1.4 a year ago. Not very good but reflective of the boring parade that was had in St. Pete.

    Just saw the numbers were 0.3 for Alabama, down from 0.4 a year ago. Wow.

    So much for street/road racing being more popular than ovals. Plan B?

    Comment by Bob F. — April 4, 2012 @ 9:00 pm | Reply

  8. Sorry to dissent, but 12+ Nielsen figures, while perhaps not the currency of the business, are almost certainly representative of the slice-and-dice demographic ratings that do fuel the sport.

    Put another way, I highly doubt that if the “ratings for the masses” drop by 20% or more, the numbers in the “key demographics” are capable of shooting up 30%. And if by chance that were happening, it would behoove IndyCar to trumpet that fact from the rooftop.

    Which they are not doing.

    Which just reinforces my opinion that it’s not happening.
    Editor’s Note: Actually, they are are pretty far from actual reality and the industry is trying hard for a more accurate way to replace the current system. About the only thing 12+ overnight estimates are used for is genital waving on the internet. And even when IndyCar 12+ overnight estimates are considered ‘bad’ the idiot critics who chide with that particular taunt are always at a loss when pressed for specific horrible results they predict as the result of such ‘bad’ numbers. It’s actually quite humorous.

    Comment by L. Anderson — April 6, 2012 @ 10:26 pm | Reply

  9. ok.
    the decimal point TV ratings are in.
    the lack of attendance figures are in.
    belle isle/tx fail. period.
    time for Pocono?

    Comment by john of sparta — June 10, 2012 @ 11:26 pm | Reply

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