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Volume 10 No. 22
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Wiggins' Record-Setting Cycling Gold Medal Draws 7 Million BBC Viewers

Almost 7 million viewers in the U.K. tuned in to watch Great Britain's Bradley Wiggins win the Gold Medal in the men's cycling time trial on Wednesday afternoon, according to Mark Sweney of the London GUARDIAN. Wiggins won a British Olympic record seventh medal -- and fourth Gold. His performance drew a five-minute peak of 6.2 million viewers on BBC1 from 4pm London time, with another 648,000 tuning in on the BBC Olympics 2 red button service. Earlier in the day, a peak of almost 4.5 million viewers watched Helen Glover and Heather Stanning win the Gold Medal in rowing. Viewing on BBC1 peaked at 4.1 million from 12pm, with another 322,000 tuning in on BBC Olympics 2, as the duo "made a piece of Olympic history" by becoming the first British female rowers to win gold. The men's eight race "attracted the biggest audience for the rowing" at Eton Dorney on Wednesday, with a five-minute peak of 4.9 million catching the 12:30pm race. BBC1 attracted 4.5 million viewers. Helped by its "viewer-friendly evening schedule," swimming continues to bring in the biggest audience figures. A five-minute peak of 9.7 million watched Team GB swimmer Michael Jamieson take Silver in the men's 200m breaststroke final. The BBC1 evening Olympics show attracted an average audience of 7.5 million viewers between 7pm and 10pm, a 32.3% share of total TV viewing during that period. Team GB's men's football team gave BBC3 its "highest five-minute peak audience of the Olympics so far" with more than 5 million during the 1-0 victory over Uruguay (GUARDIAN, 8/2).

SLEEPLESS KIWIS: In Auckland, Hana Garrett-Walker wrote that despite New Zealand "going to sleep just as the Olympics in London swing into action each day, the time difference is not stopping Kiwis from tuning in." Prime is the only free-to-air channel showing the Olympics this year, but pay-TV network Sky has eight channels dedicated solely to Games coverage. During the Opening Ceremony, Prime had a 292% increase in viewers compared with the average for the four previous weeks. On Tuesday, Prime viewership was up 333% on its average (NEW ZEALAND HERALD, 8/2).

AUSTRALIANS PAY PRICE: In Sydney, Foxtel's London Games coverage has delivered pay-TV its highest all-time ratings. The coverage is so popular, the pay-TV provider "has a larger share of the total television audience" than free-to-air channels Seven and Ten. On Wednesday for example, Foxtel had 22.5% of the free-to-air and pay-TV market while Seven had 17.3% and Ten 14.6%. The highlight was Sunday night between 6pm and 10:30pm Sydney time "when an average audience of 946,432 viewers tuned in across Foxtel’s eight dedicated channels." The Sunday audience peaked at 1.27 million at 8:20pm, which was "the highest recorded audience of any program" since Foxtel was launched almost 17 years ago (THE AUSTRALIAN, 8/2).

UNPRECEDENTED COVERAGE: In N.Y. Evan Ramstad reported that North Korea is allowing "five hours of daily coverage of the London Olympics to be shown on its TV network." The length of coverage "is unusual for the country, where the regime typically exerts great control over images of foreign countries and events." The broadcasts are not live, however, due to the "limited transmission hours of state-run TV, which is off-air at night when most events are happening in London." The coverage comes as North Korea's athletes "have turned in their best Olympic performance" since the '92 Barcelona Games (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 8/2).

GERMANY STABLE: The VOLKSTIMME reported that the German Olympics ratings "remained stable on Wednesday." ZDF's prime-time coverage of  swimming attracted 6.6 million viewers at 10pm CEST. This number translates into a 26.5% market share. Shortly before 8pm, 4.8 million people or 20.8% tuned in to see tennis. Germany's first Gold Medal of its eight man rowing crew since '88 gained "the day's top rating" with 3.7 million viewers and "a remarkable" 38.2% market share (VOLKSSTIMME, 8/2).

FRENCH DRAW: LE PARISIEN reported that France Television's coverage of the London Games on Wednesday had a 19.6% market share. Swimmer Yannick Agnel's presence in the 100m freestyle and the women's 4x200m freestyle final "drew consecutive peak audiences" of 8.4 million people (LE PARISIEN, 8/2).