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But the network, in unveiling its final TV ratings for a Tokyo Games thrown off-kilter by the pandemic, played up online TV gains, including securing nearly 6 billion streaming minutes consumed across NBC Olympics digital and social media platforms and Peacock’s securing its best two weeks of usage ever.
Peacock offered no numbers to quantify the audience gains for the streamer as it offered five hours of live event coverage during the mornings and several highlight and recap shows during the 17-day Games.
The Tokyo Olympics’ primetime viewership, as measured by Nielsen and Adobe Analytics, also fell steeply from the average 31.1 million eyeballs that tuned into the 2012 London Games and posted the lowest primetime audience ever for NBC since the network started airing the Olympics in 1988.
But overall audience size for coverage of 41 Olympics sports over 17 days matters to NBC, which presented over 7,000 hours of live and pre-recorded Summer Games coverage. The network said over 120 billion minutes of Tokyo Olympics content was consumed across all NBCUniversal platforms, including TV, digital and social, which delivered a marketing punch for the studio.
And NBC stressed the Tokyo Games coverage outdrew everything else on TV by the sheer drama of the media event with coverage on the main TV network, its sibling cable outlets and digital platforms including NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app.
“There is nothing more powerful in media than the 17 straight days of Olympics dominance. Despite being thrown a series of curveballs over the last 18 months, the power of the Olympics delivered to audiences across the various platforms of NBCU has proven itself unequalled,” said Pete Bevacqua, NBC Sports’ chairman, in a statement.
The low TV viewership for the Tokyo Games was expected as NBC battled against changing viewership habits overall as homes drop cable and satellite bundles and turn to streaming platforms and a lack of fans at Olympic venues amid a COVID-19 surge in Japan.
On the social media front, NBC pointed to 2.9 billion impressions on NBC Olympics’ Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts; 338.7 million public engagements on NBC Olympics’ Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Snap accounts; and NBC Olympics’ largest podcast offering ever delivered 426,000 downloads across the slate of daily podcasts.
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