Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Drew 16.7M US Visitors For NBC, A 33-Year Low

Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony Drew 16.7M US Visitors For NBC, A 33-Year Low

Comcast Corp CMCSA-owned NBCUniversal drew 16.7 million U.S. viewers for the Tokyo Olympic Games opening ceremony, the lowest in 33 years, Reuters reported, citing preliminary data from the broadcaster. 

What Happened: The viewership draw was from across all of NBCUniversal’s platforms that included NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app, implying a steep drop when compared with previous opening ceremonies when viewers had fewer streaming options.

As per the report, the Tokyo opener's TV audience declined 37% from 2016 for the Rio de Janeiro Games when 26.5 million people watched the opening ceremony then and a drop of 59% from 2012, when 40.7 million people watched the London ceremony.

Overall, the number of people who watched the opening ceremony on Friday in the U.S. was the lowest since the 1988 Seoul Games, which drew 22.7 million TV viewers and also lower than the 1992 Barcelona Games, when 21.6 million people tuned in, the report noted citing Nielsen data.

The streaming audience on those platforms however grew 76% from the 2018 PyeongChang opening ceremony and 72% from the 2016 Rio opener, indicating a change in viewing preferences.

See Also: Bitcoin, Dogecoin, NFTs Big Deal At Tokyo 2020: How Crypto-Savvy Olympians Can Feel Right At Home

Why It Matters: The scaled-down opening event took place with fewer than 1,000 attendees at the Olympic Stadium under strict social distancing rules due to the COVID-19 threat.

NBC broadcast the ceremony live in the morning, at 6:55 a.m. ET Friday as Tokyo is 13 hours ahead of the U.S. East Coast. A taped primetime broadcast began at 7:30 p.m. ET.

NBCUniversal has aggressively pushed its digital platforms this year and views the Olympics as a vital driver of subscribers for its Peacock streaming service.

The company plans to air 7,000 hours of Olympics coverage across its multiple television networks and Peacock. The drop in TV ratings is part of a trend among live TV events, including awards shows and sports.

NBCUniversal has paid about $8 billion to extend its U.S. broadcast rights for the Olympics through 2032. It has also tied up with social media platform Snap Inc SNAP to produce over 70 episodes featuring Olympics content during the Tokyo Games.

See Also: Snapchat Scores Exclusive Olympics Content In NBC Deal — Could It Replicate Previous Run's Success?

Price Action: CMCSA shares closed 0.99% higher at $58.36 on Friday.

Photo: Courtesy of IOC Media via Flickr

Posted In: nbcuniversalOlympicsStreaming Video On DemandSVODTokyo 2020Tokyo OlympicsNewsRetail SalesSportsMediaGeneral

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