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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014

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In Movies & TV Commentary

More than 13.5 million people watched "Puppy Bowl X" on Animal Planet.

Never be surprised: "Puppy Bowl" is a ratings success


Sometimes, in my observations of people through media, I learn to not ask tough questions and just roll with it.

So when I saw that more than 13.5 million people watched the "Puppy Bowl" on Animal Planet this last Sunday, I wasn't so surprised.

But I have to say at 13.5 million is a huge number.

"It was a Super Bowl Sunday blowout on many levels: the Seattle Seahawks crushed the Denver Broncos; and Animal Planet annihilated all its competition as 'Puppy Bowl X' took the ball and ran, scoring a whopping 13.5 million unique P2+ viewers throughout the 12-hour marathon – its largest audience ever," the report of the outstanding telecast said.

TheP+2 is the technical language meaning the viewing audience with additional numbers thrown in for people who may have watched through a second screen in the household or by time shifting with recording the event that went to the dogs by recording it and watching it later.

In the 10th year of the event on Animal Planet, the program ran for a 12-hour marathon encompassing the second half of the Super Bowl Sunday.

In the time slot before the game on Fox, Animal Planet's presentation from 2 to 4 p.m. central time, had 3.3 million viewers, which was 24 percent higher than it was a year ago.

On social media, the "Puppy Bowl" had more than 340,000 tweets during the premiere telecast, which made it the second most-talked-about event, only to the Super Bowl itself. And, taking advantage of Instagram's tie-in with Twitter, the #PuppyBowl hash tag for Instagram pics had more than 150,000 live integration where viewers could send in pictures of themselves with their dogs.

"Several celebrities joined in on the 'Puppy Bowl' fun, including Ricky Gervais, Rob Lowe, Lindsey Vonn, Pam Grier and Sean Astin, who naturally gave his support to the #PlayRudy movement. Even President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama, with First Dogs Bo and Sunny, got in on the social action," the release from Animal Planet said.

And if you are not a fan of dogs, you didn't have to feel left out. One of the best parts, in my opinion, was the, "Bissell Kitty Half-Time Show" with the musical stylings of Internet sensation Keyboard Cat.

Yes, I don't make this stuff up.

Online, the "Puppy Bowl" was huge too. AnimalPlanet.com welcomed more than half a million unique visitors on game day, according to the release, with year-over-year video streams up 40 percent and page views increasing 22 percent.

"Game-day success was driven by an unprecedented lineup of adorable and addictive content – from the first-ever 'Puppy Bowl' Fantasy Game and Most Valuable Puppy (MVP) poll to photo galleries and compelling video, including Puppy Profiles and Adoption Tails," the channel said.

"The 12-hour marathon event lined up a first-string, all-adorable cast itching to play in a winning combination of terrier tackles, canine touchdowns, puppy penalties and Fido first downs. Animal Planet's GEICO Stadium set the scene for the most incredible 'Puppy Bowl' ever, complete with brand-new features. …

"Even fellow feline celebrity and VIP super fan Lil BUB showed her support while a parade of penguins waddled and cheered from the sidelines. Furry first responders, representing police dogs across the New York region, participated in the National Anthem ceremony, and a group of rowdy canines watched the action from an all-new doggie tailgate party. Meanwhile, viewers were treated to favorite features from previous 'Puppy Bowl' games, including the Water Bowl Cam, the Kiss Cam sponsored by Subaru, the slow-motion 'Too Cute' Cam and an aerial view of the field provided by the Twizzler blimp and its hamster pilots. Sideline reporter @MeepTheBird chirped out live updates (on Twitter) from inside the stadium."

The best news out of this entire TV sensation is this: Almost all of the animals featured in "Puppy Bowl X" have been adopted and came rescue groups and shelters across the United States and Puerto Rico.

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