NBC audience tops 28m for PyeongChang opening ceremony; ARD nets 4.2m
NBC, the US national television network, averaged 28.3 million viewers for its coverage of the opening ceremony of the 2018 Olympic Games on Friday, which included a first-ever live stream of the proceedings.
The linear NBC telecast, between 8pm and 11.02pm (ET) averaged 27.8 million viewers, while the live stream, which began at 6am (ET) and views initiated via NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app simultaneous to the taped-delay primetime telecast added up to an average minute audience of 449,000.
NBC noted the total streaming audience for the opening ceremony more than doubled the turnout of 181,000 for the opening ceremony of the Rio 2016 summer Olympics.
Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports, said: “The opening ceremony was a terrific show, which we hope will only be topped by the excitement generated by the athletes and competition over the next few weeks. The early consumption results show that our multiple platform strategy is dominating the media landscape.”
The network audience was the third highest for a tape-delayed winter Olympics opening ceremony since 1992, behind CBS’ Lillehammer coverage in 1994 (33.8 million) and NBC's Sochi coverage in 2014 (31.7 million).
NBC showed the 2010 curtain-raiser in Vancouver live, and attracted 32.7 million viewers.
NBC only announced late last month that it would live-stream the PyeongChang 2018 opening ceremony.
The broadcaster has regularly come under fire for showing the ceremony on tape delay on television so that it can be shown at home in prime-time.
NBC averaged 24.2 million viewers for its prime-time coverage of the winter Olympics on Saturday, which surpassed the 23.5 million for the first Saturday of competition at the 2016 summer games held in Rio de Janeiro.
The broadcaster holds the rights to the Olympics until 2032 having extended its commitment in a 12-year, $7.65-billion deal that comes into effect after the Tokyo 2020 games.
• ARD, the German public-service broadcaster, pulled in an average audience of 4.2 million viewers for Friday’s opening ceremony. The audience was equal to a viewing share of 35.6 per cent.
Live coverage of the ceremony, which began at midday (CET), was also offered in Germany on the Eurosport 1 channel, which registered an audience of just 120,000 viewers (a 1-per-cent share).
ARD had to apologise after a speech from Lee Hee-beom, head of the PyeongChang 2018 organising committee, was not translated from Korean into German.
In France, the opening ceremony was watched by 3.1 million viewers on public-service broadcaster France Télévisions. The audience on the France 2 channel was equal to a share of 26.2 per cent.
The figures impressed in Austria as ORF, the public-service broadcaster, registered a share of 40 per cent (and an average audience of 416,000 viewers).