Fourth of July special nabs 8.6 million viewers

Macy’s annual Fourth of July fireworks display is something the whole of New York City looks forward to, and this year Gotham-based media had its own reason to celebrate: On a night when pretty much everything else on the competition fizzled, NBC lit up the ratings sky with its annual “Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular,” which was up vs. recent years.

According to preliminary national estimates from Nielsen, “Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular” averaged a 2.1 rating/7 share in adults 18-49 and 8.6 million viewers overall during the 9 o’clock hour, ruling as the evening’s No. 1 program in both categories. The special was up a sharp 50% in adults 18-49 over last year’s showing (1.4 rating on a Sunday) for its best demo average in four years; and its overall audience was the best in 11 years, rising 25% over last year’s 6.9 million.

CBS radio station 1010 WINS went commercial-free from 9 to 10, when it aired a “soundtrack” to the display; local sponsors aligned with the special hour received on-air mentions for the week leading up to the fireworks; and this year it expanded with a simulcast on sister station 92.3 NOW

Not everyone was partying, though. The barges that shoot off the fireworks were moved from the South Street Seaport area, where folks near the water in Brooklyn, Queens and Manhattan could enjoy the show. For the third year running, however, the show has taken place on the Hudson — the best view is from Hoboken. It looked for awhile like the fireworks would relocate back to their old spot, but to no avail, perhaps accounting for some of the increased TV viewership.

The switcheroo affected businesses all over the city, and restaurants on the southern tip of Manhattan especially felt the pinch. “I’ll tell you something — we looked forward to that so much,” said Mena Maguire of Ryan Maguire’s Ale near the Seaport. “That’s the one time of the year you can look forward to getting anything. This year, (the Fourth) was just like an ordinary weekend.”What’s a little strange is that the biz hasn’t translated to Midtown, likely because of the long walking distance between the subway and the piers. Jade Hall, manager at Hell’s Kitchen bar the Irish Rogue said that the business was a brief boost after the display. “It was extremely busy after the fireworks, but only for an hour or two,” she said. “It’s a really quick pop. People came around for 1,2,3 rounds of drinks.”

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