Payout Perspective: TUF Live on FX Debut Rating Breakdown
March 14, 2012
The Ultimate Fighter Live debut on FX drew an average of 1.28 million viewers, as previously reported on MMAPayout.We will now take a closer look at the quarterly ratings breakdown, viewership ratings pattern, and expectations coming into the show.
The UFC ratings press release labeled the ratings as a “strong start” to the series, and according to John Solberg of FX, “Transformers” and the UFC led the channel to a #1 ranking on Friday (prime time) for the A18-49 and A18-34 demographics. We will now take a closer look at the numbers in our Ratings Breakdown analysis.
TUF Live FX Debut Ratings Breakdown:
Viewership for First Hour (15 Minute Intervals):
Viewership for Second Hour (15 Minute Intervals):
Viewership for Third Hour (15 Minute Intervals):
Total Average Viewers: 1.28 Million
TUF Live FX Debut Comparisons (Same Friday Time Slot):
TUF LIVE Premiere (FX) – 1.28 Million Average Viewers
TUF Friday’s (Reruns on Spike TV) – 653,000 Average Viewers
Bellator 60 Live (MTV 2) – 169,000 Average Viewers
Historical Comparisons and Notes:
TUF Premiere Episode Averages Seasons 1-14: 2.0 million viewers
TUF 14 Premiere on Spike – 1.5 million viewers (lowest of the 14 seasons)
TUF 13 Premiere on Spike – 1.5 million viewers (lowest of the 14 seasons)
TUF 12 Premiere on Spike – 1.6 million viewers
TUF 11 Premiere on Spike – 1.9 million viewers
TUF 10 Premiere on Spike – 4.1 million viewers (highest of the 14 seasons)
TUF 1 Premiere on Spike – 1.7 million viewers
Expectations from the UFC:
From a Dana White interview MMAWeekly.com performed regarding the matter:
“Now that we’ve got this new platform, going on big Fox and FX, the amount of viewers that are going to watch, I mean this season of the ‘Ultimate Fighter’ with no promotion whatsoever is pulling between 1.5 and 1.8 million viewers (on Spike),” White said.
“We’ll more than double that when we go onto FX. I mean we’ll probably have more than 3 million viewers on FX watching the ‘Ultimate Fighter’.”
Expected Viewership: More Than 3 Million Viewers (Actual: 1.3 Million)
“yup!!! On a Friday night when our demo is out.”
White’s answer when asked by a fan if they could move their time slot away from Friday to improve ratings and not miss their demo:
“that’s when FX wants us on”
There are a few things to point out here. The most obvious and important one is the ratings pattern, which constantly declined throughout the show. That is not a good sign for the UFC who was hoping to make a big splash for their debut episode on FX. The second observation to point out here is that TUF Live lost one third (33%) of their audience from start to finish, which also isn’t great. The event was heavily promoted all over FOX properties and all over the internet, which makes the 1.3 million that much more disappointing. It was also the lowest TUF season debut in the history of the series, although it did win the A18-49 and A18-34 demos as well as their head to heads with Bellator on MTV 2 and Spike’s TUF repeats.
The main complain that was loudly heard from the fans was that the show format just didn’t seem to work live. There were many awkward moments with no commentary while the fights were going on and you heard talking and conversation from Dana White and the TUF coaches Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber discussing their observations, but it just didn’t seem to work out. John Anik’s usage seemed particularly odd, as he could have been doing the play-by-play but instead was relegated to doing interviews and announcements. Most casuals we received feedback from labeled the event as “2.5 hours of random guys fighting one rounders that someone was filming from some underground location”.
The positive here is that this will not be TUF’s normal format, and their 30 minutes of drama and 30 minutes of fighting should improve the quality of the show, but you have to wonder how many first time viewers will return after that many turned their TV sets to another channel. It will be difficult to gain traction with the Friday night time slot, but FX has made it very clear that it only wants to show UFC content on Friday nights and Saturdays on their network.Again, the typical format should be much more favorable to the casual and TUF fans, so we will have to wait and see how the next few episodes do to see if fans come back and settle in.