SBD/August 9, 2012/Olympics

NBC Remains On Pace For Best Summer Olympic Primetime Avg. Since Atlanta

NBC is averaging an 18.5 final rating and 32.8 million viewers through the first 12 nights of primetime coverage for the London Games, up 8% and 12%, respectively, from the same period for the '08 Beijing Games. Tuesday's coverage was highlighted by Gold Medal finals for individual gymnastics events, track & field's women's 100-meter hurdles and the second women's beach volleyball semifinal. The net remains on pace for the highest-rated and most-viewed Summer Games since the '96 Atlanta Games. Tuesday night’s coverage finished with a 17.6 rating and 30.1 million viewers, up 8% and 11%, respectively, from the same night in Beijing (NBC).

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
Night 12
Tues.
17.6
16.3
15.7
12.4
21.3
12-Night Avg.
18.5
17.1
15.8
14.6
22.7
             

WEDNESDAY OVERNIGHT: NBC earned an 18.6 overnight rating for last night's London Games coverage, which featured Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings winning their third consecutive Gold Medal in women's beach volleyball. Also featured was the finals for the men's 100-meter hurdles, which saw Aries Merritt and Jason Richardson from the U.S. take the Gold and Silver medals, respectively. While figures could change when final numbers are released later today, that overnight is up 3% from the same night in Beijing (THE DAILY).

MILWAUKEE NO LONGER THE BEST: In Milwaukee, Bob Wolfley wrote after 12 nights, the Milwaukee market “slipped one place to third among 56 metered markets delivering the highest average TV rating" for NBC's primetime coverage. Milwaukee's WTMJ-NBC is averaging a 24.2 rating, behind just Salt Lake City (26.5) and K.C. (24.3) but ahead of Denver (23.9) and Columbus (23.2). The highest-rated night for the Olympics in Milwaukee to date was last Aug. 2, "which had a 30.0 rating or 272,280 households” (JSONLINE.com, 8/8).

ALREADY SELLING FOR SOCHI: NBC Sports Group Exec VP/ Sales & Marketing Seth Winter said that NBC has “quietly sold around $200 million worth of advertising" for its broadcast of the '14 Sochi Games. AD AGE’s Brian Steinberg reports Winter “expects his Sochi sales process -- already underway for a few months -- to gain momentum, thanks to NBCU's ratings performance" in London. Winter said, “The Olympics sales process never goes dormant. There are different levels of activity and different stages." He did not disclose any advertisers citing sponsors' "desire not to divulge marketing strategy too early.” Steinberg notes NBC is “likely to intensify its Sochi efforts in September and into the fourth quarter, when it can call on potential clients with research culled from its current London effort.” Winter said that it “may seek to package 2014 Winter Olympics sales with ad inventory from NBC's projected 2015 telecast of the Super Bowl” (ADAGE.com, 8/9).

SOME PRAISE FOR SEACREST: The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER wrote despite the criticism NBC’s Ryan Seacrest has received for his role in the net’s Olympics coverage, a “majority of Americans think he is doing a good job.” A poll conducted by The Hollywood Reporter and pollster Penn Schoen Berland asked 500 viewers “to weigh in on various aspects of the Games coverage.” Results showed that 78% of the viewers "said they are satisfied with the job Seacrest is doing.” NBC’s Dan Patrick and Bob Costas “fared even better, with a 94 percent approval for the former and 92 percent for the latter” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 8/8). In DC, Lisa de Moraes writes Seacrest has been “nicked by critics and tweeters for his lack of sports knowledge, though he does not have a monopoly on that shortage among on-air NBC contributors” (WASHINGTON POST, 8/9).

NBC REVIEWS: The AP’s David Bauder writes the Bronze Medal beach volleyball match between China and Brazil “made for some real drama in the sand, astutely called by NBC's team of Chris Marlowe and Kevin Wong.” The two “pointed out how Brazil's Larissa, when the team was losing badly in the first set, embarrassed her teammate Juliana by twice refusing to set her up for spikes” (AP, 8/9). Bauder also wrote Lewis Johnson is a “real bright spot as a reporter on NBC's track broadcasting team.” His questions “are smart and to the point” and he does “his job and elicits information from the athletes, instead of trying to become part of the moment” (AP, 8/7). In Indianapolis, Bob Kravitz wrote NBC’s Brandi Chastain “has done a fine job with the soccer broadcasts” (INDYSTAR.com, 8/8).

TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT: In N.Y., Sam Borden notes during the U.S.-Spain women's water polo preliminary-round match last week, NBC “cut to an underwater camera, hoping to show players thrashing for possession.” Instead, the network “gave viewers a brief bit of risqué theater as the American Kami Craig pulled at her opponent’s swimsuit and briefly bared a Spanish player’s breast for all to see.” U.S. water polo player Brenda Villa said, “Everyone likes underwater cameras because you get to see what’s going on, but as players we hate them. Because you’re being grabbed, you’re being exposed underwater, and we don’t want that on TV” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/9).

SILLY SEASON: In Boston, Mark Perigard notes NBC's “Today” show co-anchors Matt Lauer and Al Roker “trained” for Greco-Roman wrestling during yesterday's episode. They took “some clownish bumps in a gym, hit the mat in unitards and then called it off to get beers.” Perigard: “It was a six-minute skit that ran about 10 minutes too long.” But despite the "silliness, the Olympics has given a gold medal boost to 'Today,' which has averaged about 6 million viewers” (BOSTON HERALD, 8/9). CNBC’s Michelle Caruso-Cabrera is reporting live from London and this morning she said the “Today” show set is “right next door” to where she was broadcasting. Caruso-Cabrera: "You never know what’s going on over there. Sometimes it’s like a three-ring circus because they get every winning athlete every single morning. This morning I’m walking by and there is Shawn Johnson ... teaching bobbies new tricks” (“Squawk Box,” CNBC, 8/9).

THIS IS "TODAY": May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings’ three-peat was a running storyline on this morning’s episode of “Today.” A live interview with the pair took place in the opening hour and was replayed in Hour 3. APRIL ROSS and JEN KESSY, the team that lost the Gold Medal match to May-Treanor and Walsh Jennings, were also interviewed live in the first hour. The opening 60 minutes also included live interviews with track stars Merritt, Richardson and ALLYSON FELIX, and the U.S. women’s gymnastics team. A preview of today’s U.S.-Japan women’s soccer Gold Medal match aired, as did a report on the impact female Olympians are having on the Games. U.S. gymnast GABBY DOUGLAS made a second appearance during the second hour, joining an interview with model LAUREN SCRUGGS, who was injured by a plane propeller. The P&G House, where families of Olympians can relax, was featured. The third hour included live interviews with Medal-winning long jumpers BRITTNEY REESE and JANAY DELOACH, Bronze Medal-winning boxer MARLEN ESPARZA and Gold Medal-winning sprinter SANYA RICHARDS-ROSS (THE DAILY).

TOO MUCH PRIDE: The FINANCIAL TIMES’ Robert Shrimsley writes the BBC “could and should have been less breathlessly partisan" as critics have claimed it has been, but the net was "going to offend someone whatever it did.” While the BBC “enjoys a glowing reputation abroad, at home it is under permanent siege from rightwing politicians and media rivals.” Shrimsley: “Yes, both the BBC and Britain have failed to wear sporting success lightly; but then again, we don’t get that much chance to practise” (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/9).

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