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Despite Tape Delay and Bobbles, NBC Scoring in the Ratings With the Olympics

tvol / flickr

With the Olympic coverage all over the NBC family of networks, life has a way of getting in the way of watching them live.  Despite seeing results all over the internet, tape delay coverage on the main network, a flub in promoting coverage, and even some mocking on Twitter, NBC is scoring high numbers in the Nielsen ratings.Over the weekend, Olympic programming averaged 35.8 million total viewers in prime time, according to Nielsen — the best first weekend for any Olympics in history.  More than 40 million viewers tuned into Friday’s opening ceremony on delay, which is higher than the Atlanta games in ’96 which were live.

In the Twitter world, there has seen some bashing of NBC for their coverage, yet the numbers indicate that people are watching no matter what.  Hard to please everyone in any case, but NBC is offering more coverage than in any years previous.

NBC has been covering every inch of the games through their many sister networks (NBC Sports Network, Bravo, MSNBC, CNBC, and Telemundo), and on line at their website – that’s is over 5,000 hours of coverage, and Monday saw 143 Million video streams of the London games (up %193 percent from 2008).

TiVo reports that the Monday’s five most-replayed events all involved U.S. stars, which could explain why NBC has edited its coverage to be geared toward the USA athletes.

At times you may already know what has happened, but it does not stop many from watching the prime-time tape delay, which has meant major dollars for the network.  The L.A. Times reports that NBC had sold just over $1 billion of ad time as of Monday, putting them on a profit pace – they paid $1.3 billion for licensing and production costs.

NBC has not been perfect with their coverage.  The hiccup moment of last night happened minutes before airing Missy Franklin’s time-delayed victory in the 100-meter backstroke.  Entertainment Weekly reported that NBC ran a promo for Tuesday morning’s Today show that announced, “When you’re 17 years old and win your first gold medal, there’s nobody you’d rather share it with,” and showed footage of Franklin standing on the medal stand with her gold medal, as well as reuniting with her parents, effectively ruining the suspense for you as a viewer.

Complaints will continue, Twitter will see more of that, but covering the Olympics is a major undertaking that cannot possibly please everyone.  NBC is doing all it can to give you a chance to see it all.


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