Is Amazon Prime officially taking over as the preferred way to watch?

by. Jade Beasley

Football fans around the country have dusted off their favorite jerseys as football season is here! The 103rd season of the NFL officially kicked off Thursday September 7th. The following week, the second season of Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime began with the Philadelphia Eagles vs. The Minnesota Vikings.

In an exciting game for Philadelphia fans, the opener set records for not only Amazon Prime but also for streaming NFL games overall. According to Nielsen's “panel-only” ratings, the game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings drew an average of 15.1 million viewers across all digital and linear platforms. This is an increase compared to season one of TNF on Amazon Prime in 2022 between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Los Angeles Chargers, increasing 16%.

This increase in TNF viewers allows for view-ability into audience demographics. According to eMarketer, the median age demographic within Amazon Prime’s audience for this game was 47 years old, approximately 7 years younger than the linear TV viewer. The drop in median age from streaming compared to linear TV is a tell-tale sign as to where streaming for sports overall could be headed.

Last season, Amazon released an analysis in week 15 digging deeper into the TNF Amazon Prime audience, comparing it to the linear TV TNF audience. Although a majority of the viewers who are watching on Amazon are also tuning in to other NFL broadcasts, the TNF audience has its own unique identity. According to Nielsen, the Amazon TNF audience skews younger adult, has a higher household income, and engages with the broadcast for longer than NFL linear TV.

About 53% of Amazon’s TNF football audience ranges within the 25-54 demo, while 40% of A25-54 tuned in on linear TV. The median HHI for Amazon averaged higher at $99K, while linear averaged at $83K. The female composition of linear compared to Prime is quite comparable. Amazon indexes slightly higher by 1%, averaging 15% W25-54 and linear at 14%.

The Amazon audience also engages longer with the programming compared to linear TV. Amazon TNF viewers watch an average of 84 minutes per telecast, 36% longer compared to MNF and 13% longer compared to SNF.  This is most likely due to the pre-game and post-game shows offered by Prime.

Most importantly for advertisers, TNF audiences on Prime are more likely to engage with advertised brands compared to linear TV. Viewers were 31% more likely to search for brands/products advertised during TNF than viewers of ads on other networks.

While it is only a couple of weeks into the 2023 NFL season, the new records set in the season one opener of TNF on Amazon Prime is something to keep a close eye on. Linear television is still the preferred way to watch as Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football have not shifted to streaming just yet. However, an important key note for advertisers and networks to pay attention to is the ability to analyze specified audience insights. With streaming, we have the ability to track the engaged audience. This is appealing to advertisers as we are able to add layered targeting to reach the specified audience. As this is not an option for Linear TV, the way we all watch football may be shifting in a future that is closer than we all think.