SBD/February 13, 2014/Olympics

NBCU Execs Pleased With Olympic Ratings As Viewership Spikes On TV, Digital

NBC Sports execs "were decidedly pleased with the performance of the Sochi Winter Olympics, thus far," according to Michael O’Connell of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The seventh day of Sochi coverage saw ratings approaching the '10 Vancouver Games, and, "with multiple platforms, they're breaking records." The "negatives of Sochi” have “not seemed to deter viewers." NBCUniversal President of Research & Media Development Alan Wurtzel said, "Our viewers were totally aware of all that, but a total 87 percent said it didn't matter to them." Over the weekend, 44% of viewers who said that hearing results prior to Sunday coverage indicated that it "would have no impact on their intent" to watch (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 2/13). In L.A., Meg James reports NBC execs are giving the Sochi Games "a high score," as audience levels "have exceeded the network's expectations.” Viewership on digital platforms during the Games "has jumped 54% compared with the Vancouver Games" in '10. People who watched the Olympics on digital devices "were more likely to watch the TV coverage too" (L.A. TIMES, 2/13). VARIETY's Rick Kissell wrote NBC's overall average primetime viewership of 25.9 million through Tuesday is an "impressive feat given that much more of the action from Canada was live -- and well ahead of Torino" in '06. Wurtzel said of the time difference, "For most viewers, it just doesn’t matter. The headline of this Olympics is that our multi-platform and network strategy has clearly resonated." Kissel wrote the decision to telecast 12 hours of live coverage on NBCSN has "resulted in record ratings for the cabler”(VARIETY.com, 2/12).

WELCOME TO THE FUTURE: Wurtzel said, "Cross platform viewing is really what the future is going to be." Wurtzel said that initial stats from this year's Winter Games coverage showed that the majority of viewers "are watching them on TV and on other devices simultaneously." Wurtzel noted the digital growth and credited “users' increased ease with authentication." CABLEFAX DAILY notes other findings include the smart phone "is the device that people use most often, followed by tabelts and PC/laptops" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 2/13).
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