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Super Bowl Poll: Ad Watching Still Strong On TV, But Online, Mobile Gaining Strength

By Barry Janoff

January 28, 2013: In preparation for Super Bowl XLVII, companies paid an average of $3.8 million for a 30-second commercial on CBS, with some spending as much as $4 million, according to the network.

From 2003 through 2012 (Super Bowl XXXVIII through Super Bowl XLVI), the average rate for a 30-second spot during the national broadcast of the Super Bowl has increased by more than 60%, with the game generating $1.85 billion of cumulative network advertising sales from more than 130 marketers, according to marketing a research firm Kantar Media, New York.

During that time, the top five Super Bowl advertisers — Anheuser-Busch InBev, Pepsico, General Motors, Coca-Cola and Walt Disney — having spent $683.6 million for airtime during the game, accounting for 37%t of total advertising revenue, per Kantar.

So it should be good news in corporate America that a new poll commissioned by Harris Interactive has confirmed what a lot of people already recognize and what all Super Bowl advertisers want to believe: More than half of the people who watch the Super Bowl also tune in to watch the commercials.

Of at least equal importance, 28% of women and 12% of men say they will watch Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3 "predominantly or exclusively for the ads," according to the just-release study.

The Super Bowl ad survey was conducted for Hanon McKendry, Grand Rapids, Mich., by Harris Initeractive.

"Ads continue to be an important part of the full Super Bowl entertainment package," Bill McKendry, founder and chief creative officer for Hanon McKendry, said in a statement. "And trends show that entertainment carries over to the other three screens — computers, smart phones and tablets — which gives advertisers even more bang for their 3.8 million bucks."

During Super Bowl XLV in 2010, an average of 111 million people watched the game on Fox. Last year, more than 111.1 million watched Super Bowl XLVI on NBC, an all-time record for a broadcast in the U.S., according to the NFL.

According to the Hanon McKendry study, 71% of U.S. adults plan to watch Super Bowl XLVII, a number that "has remained fairly steady" since Hanon McKendry began the poll in 2006.

The study also confirmed consistently strong interest in Super Bowl advertising over the past eight years, with 54%-57% of adult viewers each year saying they tune in as much or more for the ads as for the game.

In addition, the survey results had good news for companies that have spent ad dollars on other media to reach people on Super Bowl Sunday.

TV is still the way most people watch the game (93%), but 41% said computers were important, 28% cited smart phones and 25% named tablets.

TV is still the way most people watch the game, with 93% of those surveyed saying the broadcast experience is "at least somewhat important in order to have the best pre-game, game-day and post-game experience."

However, 41% said that computers were at least somewhat important, 28% cited smart phones and 25% said that tablets are at least somewhat important.

Demographics are of key interest in breaking down Super Bowl viewership, according to Hanon McKendry. The leading proponents of computer, smart phone and tablet use were people ages 18-34, the lowest people 55 and older. The strongest TV viewership is among people ages 35-44 (95%), followed by people ages 45-54 (94%).

The Harris Interact poll was conducted online by Hanon McKendry among 2,166 U.S. adults ages 18 and older in January. 

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