Advanced Television

US: Olympics most watched event ever

August 14, 2012

The London Games were the best ever for NBC, as more than 219 million viewers tuned in over the 17 days, making the London Olympics the most-watched TV event in US history, according to Nielsen.

The 219.4 million viewers were up 2 per cent over the 215 million that watched the Beijing Games in 2008. NBC averaged 31.1 million viewers over the two-week event, the most for any non-US Summer Olympics since 1976 (Montreal), beating Beijing by 12 per cent and Athens (2004) by 26 per cent.

Olympic coverage on NBCU’s cable networks (Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, NBC Sports Network) averaged 716,000 average viewers, up 2 per cent and up 34 per cent from Athens. NBC Sports Network had its most-watched event (Team USA defeating Japan in the women’s gold medal foobtall match) and its six most-watched days ever. NBCU’s Spanish-language net Telemundo drew a total cumulative viewership of 19.3 million total viewers, 29 per cent more than Beijing.

Over on the digital side, there were a total of 159.3 million video streams, up 110 per cent over Beijing. Of those 159.3 million, 64.4 million were live. Those 159.3 million streams made up 20.4 million hours (13.6 million of them live), which more than doubled Beijing. The NBC Olympics Live Extra and NBC Olympics apps were downloaded over 8 million times. There were 1.9 billion page views across on computer, mobile and tablet, and both apps, 650 million more than Beijing.

Meanwhile, Canada’s Olympic Broadcast Media Consortium (COBMC) is reporting record viewing levels for both the Closing Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games, which attracted some 7.5 million Canadian viewers, and the whole Olympics, parts of which were viewed by 31.9 million, or about 95 per cent of the population.

The closing ceremonies attracted some 5.1 million viewers on CTV alone.

The COBMC, which is 80 per cent owned by CTV, and 20 per cent by Rogers Media, also reported that Canadian watched a total of 662 million hours of coverage, with the average viewer consuming some 21 hours.

On digital, an additional 3.4 million hours of content was viewed at and and that the CTV Olympics London 2012 and RDS olympiques pour Londres 2012 apps were downloaded 1.1 million times.

“Our broadcast of the London 2012 Olympic Games has proved to be record-setting,” said Adam Ashton, president of COBMC in a statement. “Audiences like these set a new benchmark for Summer Olympic Games broadcasts in our country.”

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