NBCUniversal’s top researcher Alan Wurtzel said there was considerable worry that making all Olympic events available live online this summer would cannibalize primetime TV viewing, but ample evidence emerged indicating the streaming was an add-on.
NBC’s Olympics was the biggest winner of all, up 12 percent over 2008. Other successes: Gordon Ramsay, Big Bang reruns. Losers: New shows.
Without the Olympics, it would have been close. But with bigger-than-expected viewership for last month’s Games, NBC will cruise to its second straight summer victory over Fox. NBC is averaging a 2.8 adults 18-49 rating this summer, measured from May 24 to Sept. 9, up 65% over last summer’s 1.7.
There were a lot of lessions learned from the London Games, including that Olympic viewing had very interesting patterns at the local level. It was easily the most talked about topic on social media during its two weeks, reinforcing the evidence that TV content is the most social topic. People not only voraciously watched on television, but also inundated social media with what they were watching. People crave a shared experience, and television is the biggest one that there is, especially when it’s something we all rally around, like the Olympics.
Gannett, with its slew of NBC stations benefiting from Olympic ad sales, took out a full-page ad in its own USA Today newspaper Monday congratulating NBC on its strong ratings and other accolades during the London Games. “Extraordinary storytelling … Innovative viewer engagement … Record-setting broadcasts,” the ad read, saying “from your friends at Gannett.”
Boosted by Mexico’s run in men’s soccer, NBCUniversal’s Spanish-language network, Telemundo, scored viewership records for Olympics coverage. Telemundo said Monday that 22.5 million viewers watched a portion of its coverage of the London Olympics over the 17 days.
NBC finished its London Olympics on another high note — beating the Closing Ceremonies ratings compared to the Beijing Games four years ago. NBC took in a big Nielsen preliminary 9.1 rating/23 share between 8:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. for the XXX Olympics Closing Ceremony. The network recorded 30.6 million viewers on the 17th day of the big quadrennial event, just a bit under its 31.1 million average over 16 prime-time nights. This bests the Beijing Games by 12%.
Through Saturday night, NBC was averaging 31.1 million total viewers from 9 p.m. to 11:25 p.m., according to Nielsen, up 12% over the first 16 nights of the Beijing Games, which averaged 27.7 million. London remained on pace for the second-best viewership since the 1976 Games and the best viewership for a non-U.S. hosted event in 36 years.
As the final weekend of the London Olympic Games approaches, Alan Wurtzel, president of research and media development at NBCUniversal, talks about how the London games have done so far, and revealed some of the more surprising research findings