NBC’s Olympics Coverage Hauls in Massive Ratings Numbers

As the NBC Olympics production teams begin to work their way back to the States, the network is getting its Nielsen reports in and, as expected, the numbers are huge.

According to The Nielsen Company, 219.4 million Americans watched the London Olympics on NBCUniversal’s family of networks, setting the record as the most-watched event in U.S. television history, surpassing the 2008 Beijing Olympics’ 215 million viewers.

“For 17 days, NBCUniversal has surrounded the American viewer with the London Olympics,” says Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group. “There are thousands of dedicated and talented people in London and New York who take great pride in being part of these historic Games and this television milestone.”

NBC averaged 31.1 million viewers over 17 nights in primetime, the most-watched non-U.S. Summer Olympics since the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Those numbers topped Beijing by 12 percent and Athens by 26 percent. The 17.5/30 national household rating over 17 nights in primetime ties the 1988 Seoul Olympics as the highest-rated non-U.S. Summer Olympics since the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Nine nights of the London Olympics drew more than 30 million viewers, topping the combined total from the 2008 Beijing Olympics (five) and 2004 Athens Olympics (two).

The London Olympics weekday daytime show, co-hosted by Al Michaels and Dan Patrick, set numerous viewership records. Average weekday viewership of 7.1 million for all 10 telecasts makes it the most-watched weekday daytime show of any non-U.S. Summer Olympics in history. Every weekday daytime telecast from the London Olympics has topped the viewership of the comparable day in Beijing. Average viewership was up 31 percent from the Beijing Olympics (5.4 million) and up 37 percent from the Athens Olympics (5.2 million), the last European Summer Olympics.

The six weekend afternoon telecasts on NBC averaged 12.1 million viewers, up 14 percent from the weekend afternoon coverage from Beijing (10.6 million), and up 27 percent from Athens (9.5 million). The six weekend morning telecasts on NBC averaged 10.5 million viewers, up 31 percent from Beijing (8.0 million, five telecasts), and up 75 percent from Athens (6.0 million, three telecasts).

The most notable events included the Men’s Team USA basketball gold medal game vs. Spain which drew 12.5 million viewers, the most-watched gold medal basketball game since the 2000 Sydney Olympics (16.3 million), and more than double the viewership for the gold medal telecast from Beijing (6.0 million). Men;s tennis also pulled in big numbers as the live men’s tennis gold medal match (Sun. Aug 5, 9-11:30 a.m. ET) with Andy Murray defeating Roger Federer, drew 8.2 million viewers. In addition, the live Serena Williams-Maria Sharapova gold medal match (Sat. Aug, 4, 9-10:30 a.m. ET), NBC drew 7.9 million viewers.

NBC Sports Group’s newest venture, the NBC Sports Network, also enjoyed its greatest week to date. Team USA Women’s Gold Medal soccer match registered as NBC Sports Network’s most watched event in history with 4.350 million viewers. In addition, coverage of Team USA Men’s Basketball on NBCSN averaged more than 2.6 million viewers (2.632), including a high of 3.330 million viewers for Team USA-Argentina group stage game (8/6). Eleven of the top 12 days in NBCSN’s history came during the Olympics.

“The London Olympics was a wonderful 17 days for NBCUniversal, exceeding all our expectations in viewership, digital consumption and revenue,” says NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke. “Every part of our company contributed to our success, once again showing how effective we can be when we all get together to support a large project. This was the first Olympic Games for Comcast and the new NBCUniversal, and the first in history in which every minute of every event was available live. We are proud to have been part of the last two weeks, and we couldn’t have asked for a better start to our long run of Olympic Games through 2020.”

The NBCUniversal cable networks (Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, and NBCSN) reached more than 82.4 million viewers. Olympic coverage on the cable networks averaged 716,000 average viewers, up 2 percent from Beijing through the same period, and up 34 percent from Athens.

On the back of boxing, CNBC rode to an average of 449,000 viewers for its 5 to 8 p.m. ET Olympic coverage. Bravo’s tennis-exclusive coverage averaged a 0.36 household rating and 484,000 viewers throughout the Olympics while MSNBC had two days with more than one million viewers, the first time that happened in its four years airing the Summer Olympics.

Even Telemundo, the American home for the Olympics in Spanish language, had a historic showing, doubling its audience from the Beijing Games among total viewers and adults 18-49. Telemundo delivered a total cumulative viewership of 19.3 million total viewers, 29 percent more than the Beijing Olympics for the same period. The widely anticipated “Great Golden Final” between Brazil and Mexico on Saturday ranked as the most-watched Olympic event in the history of the network, averaging 3.6 million total viewers, and ranked as the highest-rated delivery among all of Telemundo’s weekend daytime soccer telecasts in the network’s history.

On the Digital Side
London 2012 was marketed as the first “Digital Games” and NBC delivered the viewers. For the first time ever, NBCOlympics.com live streamed every competition as well as Closing Ceremony.

The total number of video streams is reported at 159.3 million, more than double the entire Beijing Olympics (75.5 million). 20.4 million hours of total video were streamed, which also more than doubled Beijing (9.9 million).

There were reportedly 64.4 million live video streams, a staggering 353 percent more than Beijing (14.0 million streams) 13.6 million hours of live video was streamed and users averaged 111.4 live streaming minutes per viewer on the web and 94.3 live streaming minutes per viewer on the NBC Olympics Live app.

The most-watched live streaming events were the Women’s Soccer gold medal match between the U.S. and Japan (1,467,465 streams), the women’s gymnastics team final (1,462,834), and the men’s 100-meter dash final (1,288,941).

NBC Olympics provided two new apps for the 2012 London Olympics. The NBC Olympics Live Extra app live streamed every athletic competition and provided multiple concurrent streams for select sports, such as gymnastics (each apparatus), track and field (each event), and tennis (up to five courts). The NBC Olympics app served as the home for everything else Olympics, including short-form highlights, event schedules, TV and online listings, results, athlete profiles, columns and the new Primetime Companion feature.

The NBC Olympics Live Extra and NBC Olympics Apps were downloaded more than eight million times. Reports show that 63 percent of live streams were viewed on the web, 37 percent in the Live Extra App, while 70 percent of total video streams were viewed on the web, and 30 percent in the two Apps.

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