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Huge Olympic Viewership Remains Concentrated on Broadcast

Aug 17, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The ringing endorsement from the Beijing Olympics is that broadcast still takes the gold in media.
Despite all the hype about the Olympics being available on digital platforms, broadcast television’s massive reach is dominating the viewership and ratings breakdown.
According to NBC’s Total Audience Measurement Index, or TAMI, television hasn’t sunk below 90% of the viewing audience of Olympic media. The TAMI measures television viewership plus video-on-demand, mobile and online viewing of Olympic content.
Alan Wurtzel, president of research for NBC Universal, said only two-tenths of 1% of the viewing audience is watching the Olympics solely online.
He added that only 10% of the viewing audience is watching the events both online and on television.
NBC contends Olympic online video is booming, with 3.5 million hours of video consumed and nearly 5 million users watching that video within the first five days of the Games. Compared with the 2004 Athens Games, that’s an increase of 812%.
However, Fox and TVBythenumbers.com commented on the fact that that’s still only 210 million minutes viewed. Compared with the 60 billion total minutes of Olympic coverage offered on NBC Universal networks, online is a drop in the bucket.
For every 300 minutes viewed on television, one minute is viewed online, Fox said.
Regardless of online viewing habits, the Beijing Games are poised to be the most-watched non-U.S. Olympics of all time. Through seven days, Beijing is up 6% vs. the Athens Games in 2004 in the 18- to 49-year-old demo with a 10.1/29 average, and up 13% in total viewers with 30.5 million.
NBC’s coverage keeps setting recent-memory benchmarks, both for its own network and across all of the broadcast nets.
Coverage of the Games on Thursday, which was the event’s second-lowest-rated night so far, set an NBC high in 18- to 49-year-old ratings since August 2004, with a 9.3 rating/27 share. The night’s total viewers, 27.9 million, set a broadcast network high since the same date.
The Games’ biggest night so far in the 18-to-49 demo was Tuesday—when Olympic swimming dynamo Michael Phelps set the world record for most gold total medals—which pulled in an 11.3/30.
NBC hasn’t scored that big since the “Friends” finale in 2004.

21 Comments

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