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SBD Global/September 11, 2012/Media

Paralympics Closing Ceremony Draws 6 Million TV Viewers On Channel 4

Singer Rihanna, left, and rapper Jay-Z preform at the Closing Ceremony Sunday.
The Paralympics Closing Ceremony averaged nearly 6 million viewers, helping to give Channel 4 "a bigger share of the audience than either BBC1 or ITV1" on Sunday, according to John Plunkett of the London GUARDIAN. Sunday night's spectacular end to the London Games, which featured Coldplay and Rihanna, averaged 5.9 million viewers, a 25.7% share of the audience, between 7pm and 11:15pm London time, with a five-minute peak of 7.7 million viewers. It was "the second biggest peak audience of the Paralympics on Channel 4," ahead of Jonnie Peakcock's 100m win (which had a high of 6.3 million), but not as big as the Opening Ceremony, which averaged 7.6 million and a five-minute peak of 11.4 million. Channel 4 had the best all-day ratings with a 16.4% share of the audience, including Channel 4+1 (GUARDIAN, 9/10). Channel 4 Chief Creative Officer Jay Hunt said, "Last night's Closing Ceremony was a suitably spectacular end to a fantastic London 2012 Paralympic Games and I'm thrilled that, over the course of the last 11 days, Channel 4's coverage has engaged more people than ever before in disabled sport." Channel 4 said that its coverage of the Games reached 39.9 million people -- almost 70% of the U.K. population. The '08 Beijing Games reached 20.5 million (PA, 9/10).

CHANGING PERCEPTIONS: MEDIA WEEK's Daniel Farey-Jones reported that Channel 4 has claimed its coverage of the Paralympics has "helped change public perception of disability." The broadcaster cited audience research that revealed 65% of viewers (from a sample of 1,833) felt the coverage of the Paralympics "has had a favourable impact on their perceptions towards people with disabilities," while 80% enjoyed "seeing disabled presenters on screen." Half of viewers said it was the first Paralympics they had ever watched, and 67% said they watched more than they expected to (MEDIAWEEK.co.uk, 9/10).

NBC CRITICISM: Int'l Paralympic Committee President Philip Craven has promised "to look at partners more closely in the future after Paralympic rights holders NBC’s sparse coverage" of the London Paralympics. While the American TV network "spent a lot of time and effort" on its coverage of the Olympics, its treatment of the sister event "was minimal." NBC were reportedly due to show five-and-a-half hours of coverage of the Paralympics in total, which Craven admitted he was “very disappointed” about earlier in the Games. Craven promised to avoid such issues in the future and to make sure future broadcast partners are in line with their “values.” Craven: “Let’s have a chat, let’s see what they’re about. One thing that we will do with partners in the future is we’ll examine their values as they will examine ours. If the values fit, we’ve got a chance. If they don’t, we’ll go somewhere else" (SUNDAY TIMES, 9/9).
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