World Cup Concludes with Wins for Networks, Advertisers: TV By the Numbers

Lionel Messi of Argentina controls the ball on his head during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final match between Argentina and France at Lusail Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Lusail City, Qatar.
(Image credit: Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Below is a snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of December 12-18, highlighting the most-watched shows and networks using glass-level data from Inscape, and network and show TV ad impressions insights via

Most-Watched Shows and Networks

Via Inscape, the currency-grade smart TV ACR data provider and data technology division of Vizio with insights from a panel of more than 20 million opted-in TVs. Data is linear, live TV only and includes all episode types (new and reruns). Rankings are by percent share duration (i.e., time spent watching).

With NFL action airing on Saturday — along with the usual Sunday, Monday and Thursday games — the league keeps its No. 1 spot by watch-time, at 7.25% (up from 5.41% the previous week). NFL Red Zone also appears at No. 22 in our ranking, while NFL Gameday Kickoff is No. 25.

Some additional insights about the top programming on TV:

  • The Voice’s two-night, three-hour season finale pushed the hit reality series to No. 10 in our ranking, up from No. 31 the previous week.
  • NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt and Two and a Half Men are week-over-week newcomers in our ranking, up from No. 28 and No. 27, respectively.
  • The 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup concluded its final week with 1.13% of watch-time for English-language airings and 0.30% going toward Spanish-language.
  • From November 20 - December 18, World Cup airings (both English- and Spanish-language) combined for 2.55% of all minutes watched on linear TV – third behind only the NFL and college football games.

Most-watched shows on TV by percent shared duration December 12-18.

CBS is the most-watched network for another week, with 8.12% of watch-time from December 12-18 (up from 7.40% the previous week). The boost was fueled in part by an NFL doubleheader on Sunday, which was anchored by the late-afternoon game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinnati Bengals.

Additional insights around the most-watched networks from December 12-18:

  • NFL Network catapults to No. 8 by watch-time (up from No. 42 the previous week), due in large part to the cable channel airing three Saturday games.
  • History Channel is the other week-over-week newcomer in our ranking, climbing from No. 27 to No. 24.
  • Holiday movies continue to buoy cable networks, including Hallmark (No. 7), Hallmark Movies & Mysteries (No. 12), Freeform (No. 17) and AMC (No. 22).
  • TBS climbs three spots week-over-week to No. 11 with a heavy emphasis on Friends re-airs (32.1% of the network’s watch-time).

Most-watched networks on TV by percent shared duration December 12-18.

Top Shows and Networks by TV Ad Impressions

Via, the real-time TV measurement company. Rankings are by share of TV ad impressions, for new episodes only. 

More days of the week with NFL games meant a larger share of TV ad impressions from December 12-18. The NFL was No. 1 yet again, with 16.49% of TV ad impressions, which is up from 12.25% the previous week. It’s also more than five times the programming with the next-highest share (college football).

More insights about the top programs by share of TV ad impressions:

  • The Voice’s season 22 finale paced the show all the way to No. 3 in our ranking this week, up from No. 8 during the previous week’s semifinal round.
  • Speaking of reality TV, Survivor jumps into our ranking at No. 19 (vs. No. 59 the previous week).
  • The Spanish-language airings of the World Cup’s final matches delivered 0.98% of TV ad impressions on the week, with another 0.92% attributable to the English-language broadcasts.
  • Over the course of the entire 2022 World Cup, TV ad impressions jumped 29% vs. the 2018 event — with impressions more than doubling across NBCUniversal-owned Telemundo and Universo.

Top shows by TV ad impressions December 12-18.

CBS stays at No. 1 in our TV-ad-impressions-by-network ranking, with 18.23% (a week-over-week increase from 15.87%). On the week, more than 35% of CBS’s TV ad impressions came from the NFL, with another 4.7% from Survivor.

Additional notes on the top networks by share of TV ad impressions from December 12-18:

  • NFL Network soars from 0.35% of TV ad impressions to 3.74% week-over-week, courtesy of live game action on Saturday (including the Minnesota Vikings’ historic 33-point comeback over the Indianapolis Colts).
  • Fox (No. 5) is one of four networks with World Cup rights in our ranking — along with Telemundo (No. 8), Fox Sports 1 (No. 16) and Universo (No. 23).
  • Telemundo actually delivered 57% of all World Cup TV ad impressions over the course of the tournament, with Fox collecting 27.8%.
  • From November 20-December 18, Fox Sports 1 served 1.05 billion TV ad impressions during World Cup games, and another 690 million during FIFA World Cup 2022 Today.

Top networks by TV ad impressions December 12-18.

John Cassillo is an analyst and contributor with TV[R]EV.