For all the advance hot air, it seemed like "Live Earth" drew modest crowds, linear or online. NBC Universal says that 19 million viewers tuned in to at least some part of its "Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis" coverage across eight outlets: NBC, Telemundo, Mun2, Bravo, Sundance Channel, Universal HD, CNBC and MSNBC.
Per NBC U, that figure includes viewers who watched at least six minutes or more of the Saturday-Sunday telecasts that served up a cavalcade of contempo music makers, including Madonna, the Police, Bon Jovi, Sheryl Crow, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Roger Waters, Kanye West, Kelly Clarkson and John Mayer (pictured left).
Despite the star power, the Peacock’s primetime coverage on its mothership broadcast network drew a 2.8 million viewers with three hours of taped highlights. It’s a woeful sign of the times for the state of live (or live on tape) music on the smallscreen; the Live Earth concert block came in dead last on the weakest night of the week (Saturday). It was beaten by repeats of "Cold Case" and "America’s Funniest Home Videos." So to get to 19 million, a whole lotta people must’ve checked out at least six minutes on Bravo’s 18-hour telecast that began 8 a.m. ET on Saturday and Sundance’s 22-hour Earth-cast that kicked off before the sun rose at 4 a.m. ET Saturday.
Meanwhile, MSN is claiming 10 million video streams (and counting) for its coverage. MSN declared it a record for an online concert; execs there were breathless about "history" being made, etc. etc. But somehow, it just felt a little tepid after all the pre-show hype about 24 hours and seven continents and on and on. Then again, I’ve been a little more conscientious about what goes into the trash can versus the recycling bin during the past few weeks so maybe the multi-media-marketing-stunt-is-the-message after all…