NBC Tokyo 2020 Audience Lowest Since 1988 Olympics

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  • NBC averaged 15.5 million prime-time viewers
  • Nearly 6 billion minutes broadcast on the network’s digital and social media platforms
  • BBC says it received a record 104 million online viewing requests

NBC saw its coverage of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games averaging 15.5 million prime-time viewers, the US media network’s lowest audience for the Summer Games since 1988.

The figure, which covered the NBC broadcast network and digital platforms including the Peacock streaming service, is down from the 26.7 million who watched Rio 2016 and the 31.1 million who watched London 2012.

This year’s Games numbers were affected by the significant time difference between the United States and Japan, the effect of Covid-19, and fewer streaming options compared to previous Olympics. The absence of top athletes at some events, including gymnast Simone Biles, was also cited for the drop.

Despite this, NBC added that nearly six billion minutes of Tokyo 2020 programming aired on the company’s digital and social media platforms, a record for the network during the Olympics.

Peacock also had its best two weeks of use since deploying the platform.

Among other highlights, 150 million people watched NBC’s coverage of the Tokyo Olympics, while more than 120 billion minutes of content was consumed across all platforms.

The Comcast-owned media giant also said its prime-time coverage of the NBC Olympics was ranked along with its Sunday night National Football League (NFL) coverage as the two most-watched prime-time shows. from 2020/21.

“There is nothing more powerful in the media than the 17 consecutive days of Olympic domination. Despite a series of curved balls over the past 18 months, the power of the Olympics offered to the public on the various NBCU platforms has been unmatched, ”said Pete Bevacqua, President of NBC Sports.

“The pandemic has fundamentally changed virtually every aspect of these Games, but our team has pivoted and reinvented itself amid showcasing historic performances in 41 sports. Once again, we have seen the unparalleled power these Games have over the media and our culture. “

Meanwhile, UK public service broadcaster the BBC saw its TV audience for Tokyo 2020 drop to 36.4 million, less than each of the previous three Summer Games.

The broadcaster attracted 45.2 million viewers for Rio 2016, 51.9 million for London 2012 and 37.5 million for Beijing 2008.

The men’s 100-meter final was the most watched event on television with five million viewers.

There were 4.5 million viewers for the women’s 100 meters final, while 3.6 million watched Britain’s Max Whitlock retain his pommel title and 3.4 million saw Bradly Sinden win silver in her final of taekwondo.

The BBC also revealed that its coverage of the Games saw a record 104 million online viewing requests, surpassing Rio’s 74.4 million.

The most requested moments online were Lauren Williams in her taekwondo gold medal competition (2.5 million) and Charlotte Dujardin winning her fifth Olympic medal as the GB team won bronze in the event. team dressage (2.4 million).

In total, 27.5 million people visited the BBC Sport website for Tokyo 2020 news and analysis, with 41.3 million online requests for highlights clips, while 1.7 million listened to BBC Radio 5 Live on BBC Sounds.

“We are incredibly proud to have shed light on some of Tokyo 2020’s most remarkable stories,” said Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport.

“Delivering record Games in the midst of a pandemic is a testament to BBC Sport’s production teams in Salford, and the power of sport to bring people together. “

Elsewhere, with the start of the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games on August 24, Eurosport India has secured the rights to the Games.

This will be the first time that Discovery-owned Eurosport will broadcast a global multisport event in India. Coverage will begin on August 27 to coincide with the men’s and women’s archery events at the Yumenoshima Park archery field. The Eurosport stream will also be live on the Discovery + app, allowing fans to follow all the action from Tokyo.

India will field its largest ever contingent at this year’s Paralympic Games, with 54 athletes competing in nine sporting disciplines.


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