NBCUniversal, the US broadcast network with full and exclusive rights to the recently concluded Beijing Winter Olympics, brought in its lowest-ever average audience for a winter games at only 11.4 million viewers per day in primetime.
That is down 42% from the 19.8 million average daily figure for the last edition of the games – Pyeongchang 2018.
NBCU holds rights in the US to the Olympics until 2032 through a $7.65-billion, six-game extension agreed in 2014.
The broadcaster’s audience figures for its primetime broadcast are also down 56% from those it secured during the delayed 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo last year.
Those averaged 15.5 million primetime viewers – in itself a decline from the previous summer games – using NBC’s ‘Total Audience Delivery’ metric.
One factor for these drops in audience figures will be the time difference, with Asian Olympics always struggling due to their middle-of-the-night coverage in the US.
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However, in good news for NBCU, the average primetime streaming numbers through their various online and mobile platforms – Peacock, NBCOlympics.com, and the NBC Sports app – came to 516,000, up 8% from the Tokyo games and an all-time high for any Olympics in terms of digital coverage.
The broadcaster has said that, across the games, Peacock had “its best 18-day stretch of usage” in the 19 months since it launched nationally.
In terms of total content viewed, NBCU viewers watched 4.3 billion minutes from Beijing, the most for any winter games, while streaming minutes improved on average by 78% over the 2018 games.
Peacock streamed every event live from Beijing.
Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, said: “With sharply increased signups, usage, and awareness, Peacock streamed every Olympic moment for the first time ever and delivered a user experience that was greatly enhanced from just six months ago. Over the course of the games, we delivered what was promised to our advertising partners and delivered unmatched promotion for our company.”
Last week, US media giant Discovery revealed that its coverage of the games across Europe had seen (at that point) nearly 750 million streaming minutes consumed on its Discovery+ subscription service, more than 18 times higher than the same period for the Pyeongchang games.
The Beijing Winter Olympics ran from February 4 to 20, with the Paralympics starting on March 4.