SBD/August 8, 2012/Olympics

NBC's London Primetime Rating Remains Up From Beijing, But Lower From First Week

NBC is averaging an 18.5 final rating and 33.1 million viewers through the first 11 nights of the London Games, up 8% and 12%, respectively, from a 17.2 rating and 29.6 million viewers during the same period four years ago during the '08 Beijing Games. Ten of the 11 nights have scored a better audience compared to the same nights in Beijing. The 18.5 rating marks the lowest average rating for the London Games since they began, down from the peak average of 19.5 for nights featuring competition. Monday night’s telecast finished with a 15.8 rating and 26.6 million viewers for coverage featuring the men’s 400-meter final, women’s 400-meter hurdle final and women’s uneven bars final, tying the first Saturday of these Games for the lowest-rated night of coverage from London. However, the rating is flat compared to the same night in Beijing, after overnight figures originally had the night down. Viewership is up 1% from 26.4 million viewers (Austin Karp, THE DAILY).

PRIMETIME OLYMPIC RATINGS
 
Day
London
Beijing
Athens
Sydney
Atlanta
Opening Ceremony
Fri.
21.0
18.8
14.6
16.2
23.6
Night 2
Sat.
15.8
13.9
11.8
13.1
17.2
Night 3
Sun.
19.8
18.1
15.4
14.6
22.9
Night 4
Mon.
18.0
17.6
16.6
13.8
22.9
Night 5
Tues.
21.8
20.0
18.3
15.5
27.2
Night 6
Wed.
17.9
16.7
17.3
14.6
22.4
Night 7
Thurs.
21.1
17.9
19.3
14.9
26.8
Night 8
Fri.
16.2
15.2
14.4
14.9
17.9
Night 9
Sat.
15.9
17.6
13.6
13.3
19.4
Night 10
Sun.
17.5
16.0
15.8
16.0
23.4
Night 11
Mon.
15.8
15.8
16.4
15.8
26.4
11-Night Avg.
18.5
17.2
15.8
14.8
22.8
 

TUESDAY OVERNIGHT: NBC earned a 19.6 overnight for primetime coverage on Tuesday night, which the Gold Medal finals for individual gymnastics events, track & field's women's 100-meter hurdles and the second women's beach volleyball semifinal. While figures are subject to change when national numbers are released later today, that overnight is up 3% compared to the same night in Beijing (THE DAILY).

GO TEAM USA
: NBC Sports Network saw its most-viewed day ever on Monday with 956,000 viewers, fueled by the U.S. men's basketball game against Argentina and the U.S. women's soccer semifinal match against Canada. For Olympic coverage from 4:00am-8:00pm ET, NBCSN averaged 1.2 million viewers, while the back-to-back Team USA games from 2:45-7:00pm averaged 3.1 million viewers. U.S.-Canada averaged 2.9 million viewers from 2:45-5:30pm. The match peaked with 3.8 million viewers in the 5:00-5:30pm window as U.S. F Alex Morgan scored the game-winning goal with just seconds left in extra time. That peak figure marked the net’s most-viewed half-hour of the Olympics to date. U.S.-Argentina averaged 3.3 million viewers from 5:30-7:00pm (NBC).

BOTH GOOD AND BAD
: The AP’s David Bauder wrote NBC's Olympics Twitter feed “regularly reports news of events as they happen, as does the network's website.” The Twitter feed also “sends out alerts to followers shortly before big events are to take place, directing fans to live feeds of the action available online.” This stands “in contrast to television coverage, where the idea of not spoiling the experience for people who want to be surprised in the evening holds sway.” Media critic Jeff Jarvis said, “On the Net, they have to play by the Net's rules. On TV, they can play by their rules” (AP, 8/7). Palm Beach State College business analyst Sharon Geltner said, “The Internet cuts both ways. The good news is everyone knows what's going on. The bad news is everyone knows what's going on." She added, "I still watched the competition, but it's never as exciting when the outcome is already known” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/8).

EVERYONE'S A CRITIC: GRANTLAND.com’s Bryan Curtis wrote what is “interesting about NBC-bashing is that it should rise beyond the patrolmen of the sports media beat.” Curtis wrote, “What is it about the Games that turns everyone into a critic? First, the Olympics attract a giant audience ... including a lot of casual fans.” Some non-sports types “might not be used to the ... well ... excitement of a modern Olympic telecast.” Curtis: “We go ballistic on NBC because we get snowed by the Olympics ideal. ... It has nothing, however, to do with NBC. The network paid $1.2 billion for the broadcast rights to the London Games. It's got to use every trick -- tape delay, schmaltz -- to recoup its investment.” Twitter “didn’t create NBC’s time-lapse problem.” But it “did create a 500-million-seat stadium in which to vent” (GRANTLAND.com, 8/7).

NBC IS HARD TO NAVIGATE: The AP’s Anick Jesdanun writes under the header, “Review: Following Foreign Athletes Is Cumbersome.” Jesdanun writes with a "lot more Olympics coverage online" than a decade ago, she figured she "could do a better job of following Thai athletes, even as NBC and its cable channels focus on competitors with larger followings.” However, NBCOlympics.com “could have used a better search tool.” Jesdanun wrote, “I typed the name of a Thai swimmer, Natthanan Junkrajang, into the main search box and got nothing -- not even her bio or the results of her events. I had to go elsewhere on the site to find out the two events she had entered. Then, I had to browse through the results of those events, making sure to first hit the tab for preliminary heats.” More information on foreign athletes was found “elsewhere,” including on the BBC’s website, LOCOG’s website and Wikipedia (AP, 8/8). Meanwhile, BLOOMBERG NEWS’ Susan Crawford noted people in “at least 64 territories around the world are able to watch free live streaming video of every event.” But in the U.S. this coverage is “only available to those who pay for a cable, satellite or telephone company TV subscription that includes MSNBC and CNBC” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 8/7).

GOING MOBILE: The FINANCIAL TIMES’ Maija Palmer noted Google published data showing that Olympics-related searches over mobile phones “increased 10-fold in the first week of the games, and mobile is trumping any other technology at key moments.” The Olympics are “proving not just to be the first ‘social media games’ but also one where the mobile internet is coming of age.” In many countries in Europe, “around a third of all Olympics related searches came from mobiles and in the UK, mobiles accounted for nearly half -- 46 per cent of all Olympics queries” (FT.com, 8/7).

DIFFERENT TASTE IN SPORTS: In DC, Anthony Faiola wrote Americans are “experiencing an Olympics much different than the Games as seen by a vast global audience,” with the broadcasts “corralled by NBC and ruled by national tastes.” Hungarians are “going gaga for water polo,” while Mexicans “can’t get enough Tae Kwon Do.” The French are “obsessing over judo” and Turks are “clamoring for the start of wrestling.” Faiola: “Seemingly all of Germany is agog at Equestrian. And the Spaniards, their soccer team shockingly eliminated from the medal rounds already, have now trained their national sights on another sport likely to lead to more national heartache: men’s basketball.” The Games “remain many Olympics in one, with each country’s sporting obsession offering a unique window into their national souls” (WASHINGTON POST, 8/7).

AND THE WINNING NUMBERS ARE: IOC officials predicted that almost 900 million people "watched part of the London Games' opening ceremony on television." The IOC added that “almost nine out of 10 people in the UK have watched some coverage of the London 2012 Olympics.” They said that more than 50.57 million people, “some 88% of the total people living in the UK” have watched the Olympics (PA, 8/7). IOC TV & Marketing Services Dir Timo Lumme said that around “80 of 200 national television markets have audited figures, and others are estimated.” Lumme suggested that Gold Medal-winning sprinter Usain Bolt's win in the 100-meter final on Sunday “will likely be the sports event with the highest TV viewership” at the Games. He said, “It will comfortably clear 100 million and should be approaching 200 million.” Ratings for the London Opening Ceremony “appear to compare well with the spectacular 2008 Beijing Olympics event” (AP, 8/7).

THIS IS "TODAY": NBC’s “Today” show this morning focused on the mixed fortunes of two high-profile U.S. athletes -- Gold Medal-winning gymnast ALY RAISMAN and hurdler LOLO JONES. Both athletes were interviewed live during the first hour, with snippets replayed throughout the three-hour show. The opening hour also included live interviews with the three hurdlers who beat Jones in the 100-meters race -- Australia’s SALLY PEARSON and Americans DAWN HARPER and KELLIE WELLS -- as well as with U.S. wrestlers ELLIS COLEMAN and DREMIEL BYERS and U.S. Wrestling coach STEVE FRASER. The second hour featured a preview of the all-U.S. women’s beach volleyball final and an interview with beach volleyball announcer CHRIS MARLOWE, a taped report on Chinese hurdler LIU XIANG’s injury and live interviews with Silver Medal-winning high jumper ERIK KYNARD and Silver Medal-winning runner LEO MANZANO. A taped segment aired on table tennis player ARIEL HSING, which was followed by Hsing appearing live on set playing against “Today” co-hosts. The third hour included an interview with Silver Medal-winning cyclist SARAH HAMMER and a taped report on synchronized swimming (THE DAILY).

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