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NBC Presents Interesting Facts About Rio Olympics Viewership

Traditional TV ratings for the Rio Olympics fell from four years ago, particularly among young viewers. But NBCUniversal, a unit of Comcast Corp., has maintained those ratings only tell part of the story, since this year’s event also aired on cable networks in primetime and all content was available to stream live.

According to NBCU:

  • Nearly 50 million viewers streamed 3.4 billion minutes across the web and on mobile and connected devices
  • More than half of streamers under the age of 35.
  • Almost 200 million viewers in aggregate who watched the Games across NBCU’s TV networks during the 17 days of coverage.
  • Averaged 3.6 million viewers age 18 to 34 in primetime on NBC
  • Young viewers down more than 30% from the 2012 Summer Games in London
  • Advertisers committed to spend more than $1.2 billion on commercials in advance of the Games, with another $30 million flowing in during the events.
  • About 10% of NBCU’s total ad sales efforts were tied to streaming deals
  • NBCU generated more than 600 million video views of NBC Olympics Facebook video, and created 160 Facebook Live videos.
  • On Snapchat— nearly 33 million consumers viewed Olympics content.
  • NBC Sports’ YouTube subscribers increased sevenfold during the Games

As viewers migrate to other platforms, the challenge for the entire TV industry has been to figure out how to make money at the same rate—particularly with viewing habits shifting the fastest among the younger demographic coveted by advertisers.

The company noted that nearly five times as many millennials watched primetime Olympics coverage on NBC when compared with the average viewership during the most recent broadcast TV season.

NBCU is spending more than $12 billion to air the Olympics from 2014 through 2032, a massive bet that puts pressure on the media giant to deliver huge audiences.

Mr. Lazarus said that while the social media numbers were large, the biggest challenge is ensuring the company can draw revenue from those audiences. “A lot of young people followed the Games, it’s how many of those can we convert to watching the Games,” he said.

With young consumers’ viewing habits fast changing and cord-cutting on the rise, one question is whether NBC might in the future offer a stand-alone, direct-to-consumer Olympics streaming package. Mr. Lazarus said the network has a lot of data to crunch over the next few months, and while he didn’t think the network will move it that direction right now, it’s possible in the future.

 Article published on WSJ.

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