NBC Hopes For 200 Million Winter Olympics Viewers, Topping Torino and Salt Lake City

Categories: TV Sports Ratings & News

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January 30th, 2010

With 200 million viewers, the Vancouver Olympics — the first to be shot entirely in high-definition — would surpass the 184 million unduplicated viewers for the 2006 Winter Games from Torino, Italy, and the 187 million who witnessed at least part of the action four years earlier from Salt Lake City.

Relative to the Winter Games, that would still trail the 204 million unique viewers for the 1994 Olympics from Lillehammer, Norway, which benefited from the notorious Nancy Kerrigan-Tonya Harding figure-skating intrigue.

For the more expansive Summer Games, NBC drew 215 million viewers to the 2008 Olympics from Beijing, the most-viewed event in U.S. TV history.

I think simply the fact that NBCU's hours of coverage will be almost doubling (to 835 from 419 for Torino) all but guarantees an increase in unduplicated reach. And that 200 million may even be a low ball number designed to be easily exceeded for PR purposes.

NBC will present 193.5 hours, setting the pace in primetime, where it has reportedly guaranteed advertisers a 14.0 rating.

That's got to be a 14.0 household rating, not an adults 18-49 rating. That seems to be a pretty low risk "guarantee". The lowest Winter Olympics primetime household average rating since 1972 was 1998's (Nagano) 16.3. Update: I lacked the 2006 numbers and failed to note that. The Torino Olympics averaged a 12.2 rating (thanks to commenter DuMont)

Although the Games will encounter sweeps competition, including going head-to-head against Fox’s American Idol on five nights, most expect Canada’s more viewer-friendly time zone to give Vancouver a Nielsen leg up on the 2006 Games, which averaged 20.2 million in primetime.

The "time zone will help" meme continues, but at least for NBC's heavily packaged primetime does that really matter that much? In the Pacific time zone, which again will see the exact same primetime as the Eastern time zone just delayed 3 hours, is it any help at all?

What will help is a Michael Phelps-like US athelete capturing some interest. Whether that happens is anybody's guess.

TV viewership, though, won’t be the only numbers NBCU will slice and dice from Canada. Building on the research it conducted in Beijing, NBCU will — in the research realm’s equivalent of the nations’ medal standings — again provide a daily TAMI (total audience measurement index). Rentrak will supply video-on-demand data from set-top boxes; Omniture and phone carriers will gauge mobile VOD and unique WAP visits; Omniture will measure online uniques; and Nielsen will keep tabs on the persons-2-plus counts for NBC and its cable cousins.

NBC will be counting up a veritable snowstorm of numbers. Mostly for PR purposes, their revenue will largely be determined by the traditional TV ratings.

via Multichannel News.

 
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