Rio Ratings Roundup: NBC’s ‘TAD’ Represents Second-Highest Audience Ever for Non-U.S. Summer Games, Trailing London 2012

NBC Olympics’ Total Audience Delivery (TAD) – which averages minute viewing across broadcast, cable, and digital – for the 15 nights of the 2016 Rio Olympics averaged 27.5 million viewers. That ranks as the second-highest average audience on record for the primetime competition coverage for any non-domestic Summer Games, trailing only the 2012 London Olympics (30.3 million viewers) and besting the 2008 Beijing Games (27.2M), 1992 Barcelona Games (26.4M), 1988 Seoul Games (25.8M), 2004 Athens Games (24.9M), and 200 Sydney Games (21.5M). In total, 78% of U.S. TV homes tuned into NBC Olympics’ Rio Games coverage – which had a TV-only audience of 198 million viewers. 

The peak of the 15 days worth of coverage came on Aug. 9, when NBC averaged 36.1 million TAD viewers and 33.4 million NBC broadcast viewers for its coverage, which featured swimmers Michael Phelps and Katie Ledecky capturing gold medals and gymnast Simone Biles helping to lead the U.S. women’s team to victory. That night averaged 36.1 million viewers in the TAD measure, most of which came from NBC (33.4 million).

The TAD Lift
NBC Olympics’ Total Audience Delivery provided a 7% lift over the NBC-only audience on competition nights (chart below). NBC Olympics’ Total Audience Delivery measured broader Rio Olympics consumption by calculating average minute viewing across broadcast, cable, and digital. The 2016 Rio Olympics is the first in U.S. media history with live primetime Olympic coverage on channels other than the primary broadcast network. It is also the first time that the broadcast network coverage, including primetime, has been streamed simultaneously on digital platforms.  The NBC-only 17 primetime nights of Rio 2016 averaged 25.4 million viewers with a 14.4/26 household rating.

Date Total Audience Delivery NBC-only viewership TAD Lift
Sat. 8/6 23.5 million 20.6 million 14%
Sun. 8/7 31.8 million 29.8 million 7%
Mon. 8/8 31.5 million 28.9 million 9%
Tues. 8/9 36.1 million 33.4 million 8%
Wed. 8/10 28.6 million 26.4 million 8%
Thur. 8/11 33.0 million 31.2 million 6%
Fri. 8/12 26.0 million 24.0 million 8%
Sat. 8/13 26.8 million 25.5 million 5%
Sun. 8/14 28.1 million 26.7 million 5%
Mon. 8/15 25.5 million 24.2 million 5%
Tues. 8/16 25.6 million 24.1 million 6%
Wed. 8/17 22.1 million 20.7 million 7%
Thurs. 8/18 22.9 million 21.7 million 6%
Fri. 8/19 21.1 million 20.0 million 6%
Sat. 8/20 16.3 million 15.4 million 6%
Average 27.5 million 25.8 million 7%

NBC Broadcast Spotlight
In the 15 days from the Opening Ceremony through Fri, Aug. 19, the NBC-only average primetime viewership (26.2 million viewers) and household rating (14.8) have respective 249% and 196% advantages over ABC, CBS and FOX combined – the second-largest Games advantage on record (behind only the London Olympics) (full 17-night comparison data will be available on Tuesday).

NBC’s primetime Rio Olympics broadcast has been primetime television’s most-watched show of the night by far every night – marking 118 consecutive nights that an NBC Summer Olympics presentation has topped primetime. NBC’s primetime Summer Games has won 134 of 135 nights in People Meter history.

The Cable Networks 
NBCSN, the home of Team USA, was the No. 1 sports cable network in primetime over the 14 days it presented live extended primetime Rio 2016 coverage (7 p.m.-midnight ET). From Saturday, Aug. 6 – Friday, Aug. 19, the network averaged 1.32 million viewers for its extended primetime coverage, also accounting for the best 14-day primetime stretch in the network’s history.

Golf Channel, which set a record for most live coverage ever for a women’s golf event (34.5 hours), posted significant increases for average viewership compared to the same time periods opposite the 2012 London Games: Men’s Competition: +881%, 579,000 average viewership, Aug 11-14; Women’s Competition: +188%, 274,000 average viewership, Aug 17-20. NBC and Golf Channel both provided coverage of the dramatic closing holes of the men’s competition on Sunday, Aug. 14 (1:12-2:49 p.m.). Aside from the final round of the Masters, this ranks as the highest-rated 90-minute window of final round golf coverage in 2016 with a combined 5.6 household rating and 8.8 million average viewers.

Rio Ratings by Demo
Among Adults 18-49, NBC’s 15-night (Opening Ceremony through Fri., Aug. 19) primetime rating in the demographic (7.5) more than quadruples (341% above) the other broadcast networks combined (1.7 on ABC, CBS and FOX) – the largest advantage in the first 15 days of any Olympicson record (full 17-night comparison data will be available on Tuesday).

Reaching the millennial audience, NBC’s 15-night (Opening Ceremony through Fri., Aug. 19) primetime rating in the Adults 18-34 demographic (5.5) is five times greater than (400% above) the other broadcast networks combined (1.1 on ABC, CBS and FOX) – the largest advantage in the first 15 days of any Olympics on record (full 17-night comparison data will be available on Tuesday).

Nearly five times as many people in the 18-34 demo watched the Rio Olympics on NBC in primetime than watch primetime TV regularly. Rio Olympics primetime viewership in the Adult 18-34 demo (5.3 rating for all 17 primetime NBC nights) was nearly five times greater (382% higher) than the average of the four broadcast networks (1.1 for NBC, ABC, CBS and FOX) for the 2015-16 TV season.

More than 50% of viewers live streaming Olympic events on and the NBC Sports app were under 35 years old

Spanish Language Coverage From Rio
Telemundo and NBC UNIVERSO’s exclusive multiplatform coverage of the Rio Olympics reached 16.6 million total viewers and 8 million adults 18 to 49 who tuned-in to watch the 278 hours of Olympic programming in Spanish language through Sunday, August 21, according to Nielsen. On Telemundo network the Rio Olympics, which aired from August 4, averaged 456,000 total viewers, increasing theMonday to Sunday daytime time slot by +12% vs. prior year and by +10% versus the prior 4 week average. Likewise, Telemundo network averaged  208,000 adults 18 to 49, up +24% vs. the prior year and +26% vs. the prior 4 week average.

Rio Olympics performance also positioned NBC UNIVERSO as the # 1 Hispanic cable network from 4pm to 7pm eight times among adults 18-49 and 5 times among total viewers during a 17-day stretch, marking its best delivery in the time period since its launch in February of 2015. Similarly, NBC UNIVERSO’s Olympics programming delivered an average of 106,000 total viewers across 17 days of Olympics programming since the broadcast of its first Rio 2016 event on Wednesday, August 3, up +212% over the previous year.

Telemundo Owned Stations combined weekend Olympics coverage ranked  #1 in Spanish-language television in Households, adults 25 to 54 and adults 18 to 49, out-delivering Univision by +50% on adults 25 to 54 and adults 18 to 49.  The weekend Rio coverage by Telemundo Owned Stations was also #2 regardless of language, only behind NBC’s Olympic coverage among adults 18 to 49.

Telemundo Deportes Olympics digital content reached 3 million unique users, generating 5.9 million total streams and 13.4 million total streaming minutes. On social media, Rio Coverage on Telemundo Deportes reached 52 million Facebook users and generated over 16 million native video views. And in terms of social engagement, Telemundo Deportes digital content generated 1.6 million actions across Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, up +86% vs. Univision Deportes.

The Trickle Down Effect
TODAY was the #1 ranked morning show for both weeks of the Rio Olympics and in the Adult 18-34 demo beat the combined total of its competitors. Viewership in the Adult 18-34 demographic increased 71% from the week prior to the Games.

NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt was the #1 evening news program for both weeks of the Rio Games, with viewership in the Adult 18-34 demo up 86% from the week before the Games.

Access Hollywood viewership during Rio 2016 nearly tripled 18-49 viewership vs. the prior month.

Late local newscasts (Mon-Fri) on NBC affiliates in the 56 metered markets posted a collective 69% increase in household rating over July, and matched the combined delivery of ABC and CBS late local newscasts during the Olympics (August 8 – August 19).

Viewership for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, which followed the Opening Ceremony, jumped 72% from its summer average in the 18-49 demographic, while a special episode of The Voice after the Closing Ceremony was up 238% in the demo from NBC’s summer entertainment average in that time slot.

The special Friday, Aug. 19 primetime Superstore averaged 9.7 million viewers – ranking as the most-watched Friday comedy telecast on any network since 2004.

NBC Sports App and
Across and the NBC Sports app, there was a record 3.3 Billion total streaming minutes (Live + Full Event Replays + Highlights). Viewers live streamed 2.71 Billion minutes of Olympic coverage – a new record for event coverage.  The 2.71 Billion live minutes nearly doubles the COMBINED live streamed minutes of ALL prior Games (1.48 Billion). NBC Olympics digital coverage amassed 100 Million unique users – 29% more than the 2012 London Olympics.

Olympics TAD by Night Compared to London 

Day Rio 2016 London 2012 Rio 2016 London 2012
1stSat 23.5 million 28.7 million 13.1 rating 15.8 rating
1stSun 31.8 million 36.0 million 17.3 rating 19.8 rating
1stMon 31.5 million 31.6 million 18.1 rating 18.0 rating
1stTues 36.1 million 38.7 million 20.5 rating 21.8 rating
1stWed 28.6 million 30.8 million 16.5 rating 17.9 rating
1stThurs 33.0 million 36.8 million 18.9 rating 21.1 rating
1stFri 26.0 million 28.5 million 15.0 rating 16.2 rating
Mid. Sat 26.8 million 28.0 million 15.0 rating 15.9 rating
Mid. Sun 28.1 million 31.3 million 15.8 rating 17.5 rating
2ndMon 25.5 million 26.6 million 14.9 rating 15.8 rating
2ndTues 25.6 million 30.1 million 15.2 rating 17.6 rating
2ndWed 22.1 million 29.1 million 13.3 rating 16.8 rating
2ndThurs 22.9 million 22.9 million 13.6 rating 13.6 rating
2ndFri 21.1 million 22.5 million 12.3 rating 13.2 rating
Final Sat 16.3 million 21.8 million 9.6 rating 12.6 rating

TOP 20 Metered Markets for Rio on NBC in Primetime

1. Salt Lake City 20.4/39
2. Denver 19.1/38
3. Indianapolis 18.1/31
4. Austin 18.0/33
5. Columbus 17.8/31
6. West Palm Beach 17.5/29
T7. San Diego 17.2/34
T7. Richmond 17.2/28
T9. Minneapolis 17.0/33
T9. St. Louis 17.0/29
T9. Fort Myers 17.0/28
T9. Norfolk 17.0/27
13. Washington D.C. 16.9/32
14. Kansas City 16.4/28
15. Nashville 16.3/25
16. Sacramento 16.2/31
17. Houston 16.1/28
18. Cincinnati 16.0/28
T19. Albuquerque 15.9/28
T19. Buffalo 15.9/27


Subscribe and Get SVG Europe Newsletters