The Tokyo Olympics have been a ratings disaster for NBC, which on Wednesday suffered the second-lowest numbers of the Games.
Wednesday’s televised coverage produced a total of 11.0 million viewers and an average rating of 2.4 in the 18-49 demographic per overnight numbers, Deadline reported. It also saw a six-tenths drop in ratings and a 24% fall in viewers from Tuesday.
Saturday, July 31, with 10.7 million viewers and an average rating of 2.3 in the 18-49 demo, remained the lowest-rated day of the Summer Games.
Wednesday was Day 12 of the Games. The same day of the Rio Games in 2016 earned a demo rating of 7.0, and the 2012 London Olympics’ corresponding day pulled in around 22.4 million viewers.
Through Tuesday, NBC's ratings averaged 16.8 million viewers nightly — a significant drop from the 29 million who tuned in through the same day of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, The New York Times reported.
Despite the Olympic challenges Wednesday, NBC still earned more viewers than ABC, Fox, CBS, and the CW combined. ABC, Fox, and the CW primetime coverages were defined by reruns.
On Thursday, NBC said the Tokyo Games are the most-streamed Olympics ever, with 3.52 million minutes of coverage streamed across multiple platforms including NBCOlympics.com, Peacock, and the NBC Sports app, Deadline said.
The first week's TV coverage of the Olympics also produced relatively low ratings for NBC.
The Tokyo Olympics were postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the opening ceremony on Friday drew 17 million viewers, only 14.7 tuned in on the following Monday during primetime.
According to Variety’s senior TV editor Brian Steinberg, the drop in viewership, combined with gymnast Simone Biles’ decision to withdraw from events and tennis star Naomi Osaka’s early elimination, caused "advertiser anxiety."
CNN said the ratings might have been affected by confused viewers having had trouble finding competitions and games across different NBC platforms — a complication further aided by the 13-hour time difference between Tokyo and the U.S. East Coast.
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