Olympic TV ratings way down
August 9, 2016
By Chris Forrester
The Brazilian time zone is not helping TV ratings for the Olympic Games. Interest may build as the events unfold, but so far, UK audiences are down almost one third when compared with the London Games in 2012 (linear viewing is 24.6 million cumulatively from the Opening Ceremony through to 2am Monday morning, whilst for the same period in 2012 ratings were at 39.2 million).
However, on the upside, the BBC says that there’s good news in that digital ‘Red Button’ viewing is up with Day One attracting 12.9 million compared to 7.8 million in 2012.
The time difference is worse by an hour in Continental Europe, and in France local reports say the Opening Ceremony drew just 1.6 million viewers, much lower than for London 2012.
German TV audiences are reportedly better, despite a fire at ZDF’s studio in Rio which interrupted transmissions at around 1.30am on Monday morning. On average, the Rio events on Saturday saw 3.74 million tuning in and some events that evening gathered audiences of up to 4.7 million.
Italy is also loyal to the Olympic spirit, with the Opening Ceremony gaining a 40 per cent audience share even at 2am, and while this enthusiasm faded on Saturday evening to nearer 22 per cent, it jumped back to 33 per cent on Sunday evening, and helped by Italy winning five medals.
In the US, NBC averaged an 11.4 for its prime-time broadcast on Saturday, down nearly 28 per cent from London 2012’s 15.8 and a 20-year low for the Olympic games.
In Australia, Channel Seven’s broadcast of the Rio opening ceremony averaged 1.61 million metropolitan viewers – down from the 1.7 million who watched the London 2012 opening ceremony.