Amazon provides “make goods” to advertisers for viewership shortfall

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In the TV business, the term “make good” is a bad thing.

Networks often must “make good” with an advertiser when a show for which ads were purchased underdelivers. And the “make good” typically consists of the network providing free advertising elsewhere.

Via Michael McCarthy of, Amazon has issued “make goods” for advertisers who purchased time during Thursday Night Football broadcasts.

Amazon had told advertisers before the 2022 season began that it expected to average 12.5 million viewers per game for the TNF package. Amazon claims it had 11.3 million viewers. Nielsen, hired by Amazon to legitimize and normalize the figures, calculated 9.6 million average viewers per game.

Amazon’s prediction always seemed overly optimistic, as if Amazon were trying to speak the projection into existence. Or to make people think they’d be missing out if they didn’t buy Amazon Prime.

In 2021, all Thursday night broadcasts (including multiple weeks of NFL Network-only coverage) averaged 13.4 million viewers. The full alternative package previously owned by Fox (which included a Christmas game on Saturday) averaged 16.2 million viewers.

McCarthy’s item omits perhaps the most relevant comparison: Thursday night games from 2021 that were televised by Fox, NFL Network, and Amazon. That’s the specific package the NFL surrendered in shifting to streaming, while also grabbing a bigger bag of cash.

Make no mistake about it. This was the NFL’s latest, and most significant, shift toward what once was referred to derisively as “pay TV.” And the league was paid handsomely for it.

Although the ’80s entailed a pivot to cable networks, everyone had cable in order to have access to a wide variety of channels. The world of streaming consists of various options, at various prices. Although many viewers (especially younger ones) have cut the proverbial cord, the effort to alleviate FOMO often elicits a different four-letter “F” word when examining the monthly investment in the various packages offered by the various streaming companies.

In an unrelated note, PFT Live begins at 7:00 a.m. ET on Peacock.

11 responses to “Amazon provides “make goods” to advertisers for viewership shortfall

  1. The games were mostly terrible and when I tried to stream through my Amazon fire TV, the picture quality was terrible.

  2. I don’t know how you begin to calculate the size of the audience when games are shown in bars, and it’s impossible to know how many people are in each bar. But however you look at it, the Thursday night games stunk and that’s why there may have been fewer people watching.

  3. If Amazon truly believed that the NFL Thursday package would drive consumers to pay for Prime they must be smoking something. The games were terrible and often derided as non competitive due to the short week demanded by Thursday games. But lets be clear, the NFL did not lose (short term) they got paid. Amazon is taking it in the shorts. If the NFL was a legit “partner” they would be willing to offset the losses to build the long term strategy. But again, if you believe the NFL views the Media market as a “partner” you believe that wearing slogans about love and racial equality on their helmets shows they are all in. NFL is 100% about owners making billions, nothing wrong with that but spare me the BS.

  4. TV options are complete bedlam now with networks pulling all their content from broadcast and funneling it towards their streaming apps. Half the time a game is being broadcast by one of the major networks, I can’t watch it on my computer or phone even though I pay for cable.

    Situations like this add to the public’s unwillingness to even try “simple” streaming services like Prime. I know the point of capitalism is to extract every possible cent, but these networks and streaming companies all seem like they’re triple-dipping at this point. I’m glad their card castles are starting to get shaky.

  5. Maybe it is just my TV but Amazon streams are almost unwatchable on the app compared to the Fubo TV app I use for other live sports. The Amazon streams are about like having to watch it live, most attempts to pause, rewind or switch to the analytics channel cause buffering, restarting the whole show or being forced back to the live feed and missing whatever happened since I paused.

    Amazons on-air talent aren’t very good yet, either. To be fair, they didn’t get many good games on their schedule this year but those viewership numbers are probably from a variety of issues.

  6. It’s total rip off. The numbers are worse than they say. I’ve been watching this game for about 50 years. I remember the days when you had 2 games on Sunday that’s it. AFC on NBC and NFC on CBS. You had to get up to change the channel at 4 after the 1st game. Then Monday night football on ABC and that’s it. Thursday night football on Amazon sucks. Fewer people will watch as time goes on. People don’t care. They will find other things to do. Bring it back to normal TV or keep losing fans.

  7. “everyone had cable” stop generalizing. Not everyone had cable (I never have) and excluding people behind paywalls was a bad idea to begin with let alone requiring streaming subscriptions.

  8. I don’t pay for Prime and I am not going to for a mediocre Thursday game. My team is on free tv so that’s all I need to watch on a Thursday.

  9. There are also lots of folks in rural America who don’t have access to Internet service that is a good enough for streaming games. The NFL chose to shut all those folks out of watching Thursday Night Football.

  10. I tried watching TNF twice. I live in the boondocks and barely get 4.5 MB continuous download bandwidth from DSL internet provider.

    Unwatchable the night my team played the Chargers in the debut event. Tried again the evening of December 1st, to watch the Patriots vs Bills. It was just as bad.

    But I have Prime, year round for other benefits… so it cost me nothing to try, except exasperation at the shoddy product offering. FWIW, movies on Prime at that crap bandwidth my provider offers – is unsufferable also.

    If this is where pay NFL viewing is headed, I suppose I’ll go back to FM radio broadcasts to follow the Chiefs when the NFL finally manages to squeeze viewership for every last dime.

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