An average of 11.4 million spectators watched the Beijing Olympics on NBC Universal platforms each night – the smallest primetime audience on record for any Winter Olympics and far exceeding 19.8 million nightly viewers for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
Over two weeks of coverage, starting with cold opening show 4 and ended Sunday, drew a total of 160 million viewers on NBC television, the Peacock streaming service and other platforms, NBC Universal said Monday.
Dramatic storylines ramped up during NBC Universal’s 2,800 hours of airtime, but very little served audiences who might have been craving escape quests and stories of victory. Pandemic restrictions force competitions to take place in the bubble. The result: most of the stands were empty and NBC announcers like Johnny Weir and Tara Lipinski had to move their dispatches from a compound in Connecticut.
Some of the most memorable episodes lack the uplifting, inspirational qualities that make up Olympic blockbuster broadcasts. Mikaela Shiffrinan American skier, who won three Olympic medals before arriving in Beijing, tripped miserably in several events and left empty-handed. Kamila Valieva15 year old Russian figure skater, disbanded while her freestyle skating while overcoming a doping scandal. As she stepped off the ice, her coach assessed her on camera.
Geopolitical tensions also dragged on the Olympics. China tries to eliminate the Game of Political Overtones using bots and fake accounts. And concerns about the welfare of Chinese tennis players Peng Shuaiwho last year accused a political official of sexual abuse, threatening to overshadow the Olympics.
“The Olympic brand is really struggling. Tang Tang, a communications professor at Kent State University who has studied the Olympics, said.
The Beijing Olympics lacked the kind of powerhouse narrative that made American swimmers Michael Phelps and him eight gold medals into must-see TV in 2008. One of the breakout stars of this year’s Olympics, Chinese-American skier Eileen Gu, compete for China rather than the United States. And the players in National Hockey League did not participate.
“Audiences watch the Olympics for the stories. They need that superhero story, that star quality,” said Professor Tang. “They don’t really see the Olympics as a real sporting event, but something more personal.”
In 2014, NBC Universal bought the US rights to broadcast the Olympics until the end of 2032 for $ 7.75 billion. But the Beijing Games, and in Tokyo six months before, were a logistical challenge. Tokyo Olympics was drawn smallest audience since NBCUniversal started covering the Summer Olympics in 1988.
In Beijing, NBC Universal struggles with a 13-hour time difference from New York, meaning news bulletins and social media often deliver Olympic results long before audiences watch a broadcast. . The company says this year’s Olympics are the most streamed Winter Olympics ever, with 4.3 billion minutes transmitted across digital media and social networks.
Before this month, NBC Universal told advertisers that ratings for the Beijing Olympics would be lower than for the Pyeongchang event. The company said on Monday that its coverage in Beijing topped everything on primetime television other than the NFL.
The biggest night of this year’s Olympics is February 13, when 24 million people watch, many of them likely from NBC Universal’s Broadcast Super Bowl. The football game drew 112 million viewers, accounting for 70% of the total audience who watched the Olympics over two weeks.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/21/business/media/beijing-olympics-ratings.html Beijing Olympic ranking is the worst of any winter Olympics