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NBC: Rio Olympics is most successful media event in history


Mon, Aug 22nd 2016 05:30 pm
NBC Rio Olympics logo
NBC Rio Olympics logo

Total audience delivery averages 27.5 million viewers for Rio Olympics competition, ranking as 2nd-highest primetime audience for any non-U.S. Summer Games

Buffalo tied for 19th

NBC Olympics' exclusive and unprecedented coverage of the 2016 Rio Olympics was the most ambitious media event in history, providing more ways to consume more hours of content across more platforms than any Olympics ever ... and Rio 2016 dominated the competition.

NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus said Monday, "As the headline says, Rio was the most successful event in media history. This is my third Olympics in this role, and each one of them has been a learning experience. Rio is no different. Our planning, production and presentation of the Rio Games, across broadcast on NBC, our many cable outlets, our streaming on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app, and our massive social media outreach is the most impressive undertaking I've seen in the media world. As a company, across Comcast and NBCUniversal, Rio has been another proud achievement among a list of many. This is the most ambitious task in the media business, and our team of thousands scattered among Rio (2,000-plus), Stamford (more than 1,000), Orlando and Hialeah all deserve a gold medal."

•The networks and digital platforms of NBCUniversal presented an unprecedented 6,755 hours of programming for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad. NBCU presented 2,084 hours of Olympic linear programming across 11 networks: broadcast networks NBC and Telemundo (Spanish language); cable channels Bravo, CNBC, Golf Channel, MSNBC, NBC Sports Network (NBCSN), NBC Universo (Spanish language), and USA Network; plus two specialty channels, one each for basketball and soccer. Powered by Playmaker Media, NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app live streamed 4,500 total hours - including all Olympic competition for the third consecutive Olympics - for authenticated pay TV subscribers via TV Everywhere to desktops, mobile devices, and tablets, plus connected TVs for the first time. NBC Olympics also provided 4K Ultra HD content to NBCU distribution partners, as well as Virtual Reality (VR) programming, both Olympic firsts.

Lazarus: "The number of excellent on-air people who work for us regularly and on Olympic coverage is unequaled. Between our award-winning talent and all of the other announcers, reporters and commentators who join us just for the Games, they did a tremendous job with insight, interviews and information. Coupled with our exceptional production team, we presented the American audience with pictures and stories that they will long remember.

"The athletic performances were again amazing - Simone Biles, Aly Raisman, Usain Bolt, Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, Simone Manuel, the Brazilian Men's Soccer Team, Team USA as a whole with its medal dominance, Mo Farah, Inbee Park, Justin Rose, Kohei Uchimura ... and the list goes on." 

On the middle Sunday of Rio 2016, the collection of stars was captivating, and featured:

Usain Bolt's historic victory in the 100 meters, marking an unprecedented third consecutive gold medal in the event

Bob Costas' visit with Bolt in Jamaica

Simone Biles winning her third gold medal in Rio (in the vault)

•Michael Phelps' in-studio interview with Costas

Cris Collinsworth's candid discussion with 100-meter silver medalist Justin Gatlin

Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross winning a thrilling quarterfinal in beach volleyball

•A feature on 400-meter gold medalist Wayde van Niekerk

Allyson Felix-led Team USA qualifying for the women's 400m final

Lazarus: "The audience for these Games was enormous, encompassing almost 200 million Americans overall on television alone, not to mention those engaged on our other platforms. NBC's primetime broadcasts were again the dominant form of consumption for Americans, accounting for about 95 percent of all of the primetime audience. But by putting events - for the first time ever in primetime - on NBCSN, Bravo and, at times, USA Network, as well as streaming primetime in pattern, we learned a lot about consumption habits and attracted new audiences. We'll use all of the data from all of our platforms to develop our plans for PyeongChang in 2018 and Tokyo in 2020."

•78 percent of U.S. TV homes tuned into NBC Olympics' Rio Games coverage - which had a TV-only audience of 198 million viewers, according to national data provided by The Nielsen Company.

•NBC Olympics' coverage of the 15 nights of primetime competition (Saturday, Aug. 6, through Saturday Aug. 20) registered a total audience delivery average of 27.5 million viewers - ranking Rio 2016 as the second-highest average audience on record for the competition for any non-domestic Summer Games.

•In the 15 days from the opening ceremony through Friday Aug. 19, the NBC-only average primetime viewership (26.2 million viewers) and household rating (14.8) have respective 249 percent and 196 percent 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).

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 Aug. 6-19, 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: plus-881 percent, 579,000 average viewership, Aug 11-14; women's competition: plus-188 percent, 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.

•Telemundo and NBC Universo's coverage of the Rio Olympics reached 16.6 million viewers and eight million adults 18-49.

Lazarus: "We dominated social media conversation across many platforms, as well, reaching millennials in huge numbers - we'll have more on those numbers soon. Our challenge ahead is to continue to engage them and connect them to the Olympics, while also continuing to connect them to our advertising partners.

"All of our advertisers leave Rio satisfied, thanks to excellent planning and efforts of our sales team. The Olympics are the only event of its kind, dominating primetime for 17 straight nights, 118 Summer Olympic nights in a row. Here in Rio, in the 18-49 demo, we beat the combined total of the other three broadcast networks by more than four times - the largest gap of its kind in viewing measurement history. Some nights it was five times the competition; just extraordinary dominance." 

•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.

•Among adults 18-49, NBC's 15-night (opening ceremony through Aug. 19) primetime rating in the demographic (7.5) more than quadruples (341 percent above) the other broadcast networks combined (1.7 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 Tuesday).

•Reaching the millennial audience, NBC's 15-night (opening ceremony through Aug. 19) primetime rating in the adults 18-34 demographic (5.5) is five times greater than (400 percent 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 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 percent 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 percent of viewers live streaming Olympic events on NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app were under 35 years old

Mark Lazarus: "The Olympics are a benefit not only to NBC Sports Group, but to many other facets of Comcast and NBCUniversal. Comcast's rollout of the X1 platform with these Olympics was a huge success, and has given its customers new ways of experiencing the Games.

"On NBC, 'Nightly News with Lester Holt,' 'Today' and 'Access Hollywood' - all of which were on location here in Rio - enjoyed huge boosts in viewership and gains across all key demos. 'Superstore' on Friday night was the most-watched Friday night comedy on any network in more than a decade, while 'The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon' and 'The Voice' enjoyed lead-ins from the opening and closing ceremonies, respectively. We were able to promote many new and returning shows on NBC and our cable networks. We promoted 'Jason Bourne' and the upcoming 'Sing,' among other movies, as well as our Universal Theme Parks. Our local affiliate stations, and our owned-and-operated stations, saw their late local news and early fringe numbers jump in a big way. The Games benefit every part of our company." 

•"Today" was the No. 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 percent from the week prior to the Games.

•"NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt" was the No. 1 evening news program for both weeks of the Rio Games, with viewership in the adult 18-34 demo up 86 percent from the week before the Games.

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

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

•Viewership for "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon," which followed the opening ceremony, jumped 72 percent from its summer average in the 18-49 demographic, while a special episode of "The Voice" after the closing ceremony was up 238 percent 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.

Lazarus: "Our streaming on the NBC Sports app and on NBCOlympics.com, powered by our Playmaker Media platform, was the largest streamed event in history, surpassing the previous highs for any event. Our end result will be well over 3 billion minutes streamed, shattering anything previously in the category. We monetized our streaming at a very high level, and will continue to develop more ways to monetize this ever-growing method of consumption.

"Probably our biggest surprise in the consumption metrics was that more than 1/3 of those who streamed coverage did so from connected TV devices - meaning those people were in front of their TV's watching the Olympics, but in a different way. The final numbers are not in yet, but we already know that the Rio Olympics will be the most profitable Olympics ever for our company." 

NBC Olympics' live streaming for Rio 2016 established a new standard for event coverage.

•Across NBCOlympics.com 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 percent more than the 2012 London Olympics.



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