NBC: 174 Million Have Now Watched Olympic Coverage in the U.S.

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August 14th, 2008

NBC has now attracted 174 million unique viewers in the United States who have watched at least six minutes of Summer Olympics coverage on television. The broadcasts have now reached over 60% of the total television viewing audience in the US. Through six days, it's still well ahead of the Athens games

56 million unique viewers had watched at least six minutes through one of NBC Universal's cable nets through the first five days of coverage.

The 2am-2pm portion on USA network is averaging more than a million viewers (1.044). This may sound insignificant, and versus the broadcast network it certainly is, but just one twelve hour chunk of viewing on USA network generated more than three times the total viewing minutes for all six days of online video viewing combined.

Coverage on MSNBC is averaging 649,000, CNBC is averaging 638,000 and Oxygen us averaging 713,000 viewers for its 6pm-8pm coverage.

Primetime viewing on NBC is averaging 30.8 million per night (across what is often actually more than 4 hours), well ahead of the 26.2 million the Athen's games averaged.  And as James Hiberd notes, the olympics are boosting ratings for Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien on NBC's The Tonight Show and Late Show.

While Wednesday night's viewing in primetime did average under 30 million (27.7 million , Michael Phelps was not going for a gold medal last night) total cumulative reach last night during primetime was 72 million (who watched at least six minutes).

While I applaud NBC for rolling out its Total Audience Measurement Index (TAMi), it's confusing some of the knuckleheads in the press who conclude from it that a greater percentage of people are watching online than actually are. This is somewhat a function of too much data around to be misused by people who are not data junkies. For example, NBC published the total television audience for Tuesday (96.8 million) and the total Web audience (7.7 million). There are some who would conclude from those numbers that 92% of the viewing of events occurs on television.

But when you see the minutes for the actual streams (which actually are very impressive numbers for the Internet) it's more like 99.5% of the viewing of the Summer Games is coming from television.

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