NBC reports increase in Olympics viewers
NBC Universal claimed a 16.2 rating (Nielsen Media Research data) for the first two nights of its prime-time broadcasts from the 2008 Beijing Games. The rating represents a 22% increase from the 11.8 rating that Nielsen calculated for the first two prime-time broadcasts from the 2004 Athens Games.
NBC described the Friday/Saturday rating as "the best ... for a non-U.S. Summer Olympics since Montreal in 1976," which registered a 22.1 rating.
NBC Universal said 114 million viewers tuned in for at least some Olympic action on NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, USA, Oxygen, Bravo or Telemundo on Friday and/or Saturday. That's 4 million more than the first two broadcast days from Atlanta in 1996, and nearly 20 million more than during the first Friday/Saturday of the 2004 Athens Games.
NBC Universal credited audience interest in beach volleyballers Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh, who won their first round, and Michael Phelps, who swam to his first Bejing gold medal.
NBCOlympics.com drew 62.7 million page views on Saturday, which NBC Universal described as "traditionally the lowest trafficked day of the week." The first day of competition at the 2004 Athens Games generated 10.9 million page views.
NBCOlympics.com generated 132.6 million page views for the first two days of the Beijing Games, up from 17.9 million during the first two days of the Athens Games.
-- Greg Johnson
Photo: U.S. women's volleyball players Kerri Walsh, left, and Misty May-Treanor hug after defeating Japan in their opening game of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times