SBD/February 25, 2014/Media

NBC's 17-Night Rating For Sochi Up Slightly From Turin, But Down From Vancouver

NBC finished the Sochi Games with a 12.3 final rating for 17 primetime telecasts (excluding the opening Thursday), up slightly from the last European Olympics in Turin in '06, which had a 12.2 rating. Compared to the live Vancouver Games telecasts in '10, NBC’s average was down 11% from a 13.8 rating. For comparison, NBC finished with a 12.8 rating for its most recent "Sunday Night Football" slate, which had 19 NFL game telecasts. Putting the net over the hump was likely a shorter Closing Ceremony in '14 compared to '06. NBC drew an 8.7 rating for Sunday night’s two-hour telecast (8:33-10:36pm ET), which had competition from Fox' Daytona 500 telecast and AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” while the three-hour Closing Ceremony in '06 drew an 8.9 rating. Viewership for Sunday night’s telecast was at 15.1 million viewers, up from 14.8 million viewers in '06. Meanwhile, NBC drew a 7.8 rating and 12.7 million viewers for the “Nancy & Tonya” documentary from 7:00-8:33pm (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Christopher Stewart notes the drop "was expected, as NBC was able to air Vancouver events live during prime-time on the U.S. east coast, unlike the Games in either Turin or Sochi because of the time difference." The ratings "don't include viewership online." Despite the decline from Vancouver, the Olympic audiences were "relatively large for traditional TV, which in recent years has seen viewership fragment among cable channels and the Web." Horizon Media Research Dir Brad Adgate: "If you were advertising on television between February 6 and February 23, NBC was one of only a few networks that reached a sizable amount of viewers" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/25). Adgate also tweeted a trend of the median age of primetime  viewers in the U.S. The Sochi Games median age was 55.5, up from 53.2 in '10. The median was 51.2 in '06, 47.9 in '02, 47.3 in '98, 45.7 in '94 and 43.4 in '92 (TWITTER.com, 2/25).

WINTER OLYMPICS PRIMETIME RATINGS TREND (EXCLUDES OPENING THURSDAY)
TELECAST
'14 SOCHI
'10 VANCOUVER
'06 TURIN
'02 SALT LAKE CITY
Closing Ceremony
8.7
12.1
8.9
22.3
16th Day (Saturday)
7.8
11.7
9.7
15.7
15th Day (Friday)
8.8
13.9
9.7
17.7
14th Day (Thursday)
12.2
13.6
15.8
26.8
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)
10.9
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
17-DAY AVG.
12.3
13.8
12.2
19.2






PRIME OF YOUR LIFE: In N.Y., Richard Sandomir notes NBC during the Sochi Games "beat its prime-time competition for 17 nights in a row." That means that the other networks "did not put up much of a fight and that former Olympics-beaters like 'American Idol' do not have their former potency." Still, if you are "the Olympic network -- as NBC is -- you take your victories and celebrate them." NBC Sports Group Chair Mark  Lazarus added, "To have over a 12 rating for three hours a night and beating the competition, most nights dominantly -- even doubling the combined ratings of our broadcast competitors -- we’re pleased. For us to have a higher rating in Sochi than we did in Torino says a lot." He added that the net "would profit from the Sochi Games." Sandomir notes the Olympics "enriched NBC’s cable sports network, NBCSN, more than doubling the audience that watched the London Games to a daily average of 1.6 million, and boosting by nearly 1,800 percent the viewership that the network reaped in the four weeks leading to the Sochi Olympics" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/25).

RALLYING FOR RIO: AD AGE's Jeanine Poggi noted NBCUniversal already is "gearing up to sell ads in its coverage" of the '16 Rio Games. NBCU has "plenty of recent success to boast about as it approaches advertisers: Online streaming for the Olympics hit new records, viewership in peripheral parts of the day has been strong and the games put the fledgling NBCSN on the map." But when it comes to primetime, where "about 80% of ad dollars are allocated, there's less to discuss, as Sochi fell short of some of the ratings guarantees it promised advertisers and the audience is aging up." NBC Sports Exec VP/Sales & Marketing Seth Winter said that the company "will be looking more closely at cable." He added, "Prime-time is still the engine that drives Olympics investment and always will ... But other peripheral dayparts are playing a bigger role." Poggi noted media buyers said that they "aren't overly concerned with the prime-time numbers, noting that the highest ratings still come in that time slot" (ADAGE.com, 2/24).

WINTER WONDERLAND: CBC/Radio-Canada attracted more viewers for its coverage of the Sochi Games than any previous Olympic broadcast in Canada. More than 33.35 million Canadians viewed at least some content from Sochi in English or French across all platforms. A record 10.7 million Canadians watched Olympic content via online streams on the CBC and/or SRC sites, and they consumed about 14 million hours of online video. That is almost twice what was consumed during the '10 Vancouver Games. Sunday, highlighted by the Canada-Sweden men's hockey Gold Medal game, was the most-watched day of the Games with a daily reach of 26.5 million viewers. The game was viewed by approximately 15.0 million Canadians, generating an average audience of more than 8.5 million over the five networks that broadcast the game live from 7:10-9:19am ET (CBC).
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