SBD/February 21, 2014/Olympics

NBC Gets Strong Wednesday Night Rating With Women's Figure Skating, Ligety

NBC finished with a 12.2 rating and 20.2 million viewers for primetime Sochi Games coverage on Wednesday, marking the best Winter Olympic audience for the second Wednesday since the ’02 Salt Lake City Games. Coverage on Tuesday was highlighted by the ladies' figure skating short program and Ted Ligety winning the Gold Medal in the men’s giant slalom. Also airing were the Gold Medal finals for women’s bobsled and men's parallel giant slalom. NBC’s Wednesday night rating was up 3% from an 11.9 for the same night at the ’10 Vancouver Games and up 22% from a 10.0 during the ’06 Turin Games. Through 13 nights from Sochi, NBC is averaging a 13.0 rating, down 8% from ’10, but up 5% from ’06. Meanwhile, USA Network averaged 1.9 million viewers for the U.S.-Czech Republic men’s hockey quarterfinal on Wednesday afternoon. MSNBC averaged 480,000 viewers for the Canada-Latvia quarterfinal (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor). In L.A., Scott Collins notes the Olympic competition helped push Fox' "American Idol" to "some all-time ratings lows for a Wednesday show this week." The episode "featured performances from the Top 10 boys," and the rating was the show's "worst-ever Wednesday number" among adults 18-49. The 10 million viewers who tuned in "made it the least-watched 'Idol' during the traditional September through May TV season" (L.A. TIMES, 2/21).
 
WINTER OLYMPICS PRIMETIME RATINGS TREND (EXCLUDES OPENING THURSDAY)
 
'14 (Sochi)
'10 (Vancouver)
'06 (Turin)
'02 (Salt Lake)
13th Day (Wednesday)
12.2
11.9
10.0
19.5
12th Day (Tuesday)
11.2
12.6
15.5
22.3
11th Day (Monday)
13.8
12.5
13.6
17.1
10th Day (Sunday)
12.1
13.2
11.6
17.1
9th Day (Saturday)
9.6
14.7
11.3
14.0
8th Day (Friday)
11.0
13.4
11.2
15.8
7th Day (Thursday)
13.4
14.5
11.9
17.6
6th Day (Wednesday)
12.1
16.7
11.3
17.5
5th Day (Tuesday)
13.7
12.2
11.3
18.5
4th Day (Monday)
12.8
14.2
12.8
19.6
3rd Day (Sunday)
14.4
14.3
13.3
17.6
2nd Day (Saturday)
13.9
14.0
13.5
17.1
Opening Ceremony
17.0
17.3
12.8
25.5
13-NIGHT AVG.
13.0
14.1
12.4
18.6
         

SHORT-LIVED RECORD? NBC Sports on Thursday generated 1.2 million unique users for its digital stream of the Olympic women’s ice hockey Gold Medal game between the U.S. and Canada, the second-largest audience for any sporting event in the history of NBC Sports Digital, behind only the Giants-Patriots Super Bowl XLVI two years ago. That Super Bowl drew 2.1 million unique users. The hockey game also drew 34.9 million minutes of consumption. The streaming audience figures from Thursday likely will be challenged, if not surpassed, by Friday's U.S.-Canada men’s semifinal Olympic hockey game. Meanwhile, the CBC set its own steaming record for the event. The CBC's audience of 325,000 unique users on mobile and desktop devices is the highest digital audience ever for any live event in network history. Given Canada's total population of about 35 million, the digital audience represented nearly 1% of the entire country. NBC's number of 1.2 million uniques for yesterday’s game, while certainly historic in its own right, comparatively represented about 0.3% of the U.S. total population of about 315 million (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).

TIME FOR A SWITCH? In L.A., Steven Zeitchik wrote NBC's figure skating broadcasters Tom Hammond, Scott Hamilton and Sandra Bezic are "perhaps the most challenged announcing team at the Games." During Thursday's coverage of the women's free skate, they were "in full effect, alternating between opaque descriptions of the scoring and the kind of platitudes that seem to have little to do with any sport." Hamilton "can have the occasional insight, when he’s not vaguely talking about how someone 'fought for' a jump." But Hammond and Bezic "offered as much analysis as you’d expect from a docile Notre Dame football commentator and a woman who can hear cardiac melodies." Zeitchik: "NBC, can we get Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski already?" (LATIMES.com, 2/20). Also in L.A., Tom Hoffarth writes NBCSN's live coverage with Weir, Lipinksi and Terry Gannon was a "flamboyantly high point for the network." Hoffarth: "Maybe it’s time to sub out Tom Hammond, Scott Hamilton, Sandra Bezic and Tracy Wilson if a younger, livelier demo is what you’re seeking" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/21). 
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