Changing channels & changing habits is hard to do


File this under “stating the obvious” but… Over the past week I’ve been observing how difficult it is for Fox to get people to switch over to FS1 for the rest of the World Series post game coverage.

Here’s FS1’s World Series post game viewership for the first 5 games:

Game 1: 111K
Game 2: 186K
Game 3: 179K
Game 4: (delayed until 2:30AM ET due to college football)
Game 5: 269K

Especially since there is some brief post game coverage on Fox (sadly, I don’t have those numbers but you can be sure they’re much bigger) it’s probably not fair or particularly useful to contrast FS1’s post game numbers with World Series viewership.

It might be interesting to note that the SportCenters on ESPN opposite FS1’s post game coverage have done better but that gets a bit convoluted because of SportsCenter’s lead-ins.

Still, the 11PM-12:30AM ET SportsCenter on Sunday  averaged 327,000 with a 403,000 lead-in from Poker from 8:30-11P ET. That’s more than FS1’s post game coverage from midnight to 12:40AM ET but I don’t find that remarkable.

What I did find remarkable on Sunday was the 12:30-2AM ET SportsCenter  jumped from the 327,000 average from 11-12:30AM to 852,000 from 12:30-2AM.

With millions of viewers on hand, Fox gets relatively few of them to switch over to FS1, even when Fox prods its viewers to do so.

But without having the opportunity to ask them to switch, hundreds of thousands of people, presumably out of habit, switched over to ESPN after Sunday Night Football ended.

This article has 1 Comment

  1. While I certainly don’t have all the answers here, I have some noteworthy explanations to add here:

    1) This one is from personal experience – I held a viewing party for each of the 7 World Series games; since we started off late for 6 of these games (people showing up fashionably late and all), and I happened to be DVRing each of these games, we actually watched all of the pre-game coverage and game from the beginning. Most of the time, this means that we can skip over the commercial breaks. However, by the time we saw the ending of these games, we were usually still about 45 minutes behind. So, once we reached the part where Kevin Burkhardt mentioned that continued post-game coverage would resume on FS1, the post-game coverage had already ended at that time. I was actually very annoyed and frustrated that they were doing this, because I enjoyed the commentary. Next time, the people over at FOX/FOX Sports should hold the entire game/coverage on one channel only, be that the local FOX station or FS1, and stick to it.

    2) I have had people asking me which channel FS1 is on. It took me a while to find it myself, the first time I was searching for it. On my local provider, this channel is not prominently featured at all – FS1 is on channel 400. The local FOX station, on the other hand, is on channel 5. This is definitely a major concern that the people over at FS1 should take seriously. These days, people are very short on patience, so if they can’t find it within 30 seconds, they probably won’t even bother to continue searching.

    3) As an addendum to #2 – people do often lose or misplace their remote controls, and if their situation is similar to mine, it may require them to tap on the (corresponding) CH+ button on their cable box up to hundreds of times. This situation would almost certainly be too inconvenient for most people.

    4) Not all viewers watch the post-game coverage – in part, because the games ended at or around 12:00 AM midnight (EDT) or later, some of them tune out, and either go on to watch something else and/or prepare for bed. (One member of our viewing party left as soon as the final out was made in each game – he works early in the morning.)

    I’m pretty sure there are more explanations, but primarily, having to switch channels disrupts the flow of the viewing experience, or proves to be too inconvenient for whatever reason. In the long-term, this strategy is not feasible for garnering large transitional audiences.

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