[02/27/06 - 12:00 AM]
Torino Winter Games Casts Olympic Halo Across NBC Universal

[via press release from NBC]



184 Million Watch the Olympics on the Networks of NBC Universal; NBC to Win 3rd Consecutive Week in Viewers & Households for 1st time in 18 Months

NBCOlympics.com Serves 9.1 million Video Streams, More than 125,000 Hours of Video

TORINO, Italy - Feb. 28, 2006 - 184 million viewers, two-thirds of all Americans, watched all or part of the Torino Winter Olympics on the networks of NBC Universal, only two percent behind the 2002 Salt Lake Games (187 million), tying Nagano as the third-most watched Winter Olympics in history. Eight of ten U.S. television households tuned in to NBCU's Olympics coverage. The unprecedented coverage will drive NBC to win three consecutive weeks in primetime in households and viewers for the first time in 18 months; it also produced impressive gains in viewership for NBCU's cable networks and NBC News' "Today" and "Nightly News with Brian Williams." NBCOlympics.com has streamed more than 125,000 hours of video online and more than doubled the total number of page views from the Salt Lake Winter Games. The Torino Games are NBCU's fifth consecutive profitable Olympics venture, dating back to the Atlanta Games in 1996.

"NBC Universal will see a profit of about $60-70 million, from $900 million in revenue from the Torino Games," said Randy Falco, President and COO, NBC Universal Television Group. "Our strategy has been to be on every platform where media is consumed because there is a clear behavior shift in the way media is being consumed. And that strategy has been a success for us. We added programming and content for Torino that was very well received, very successful and can be studied as a template for the future."

NBCU's networks, NBC, USA, MSNBC and CNBC, provided more than 418 total hours of coverage, with high definition simulcast on NBC HD and Universal HD - including the most live coverage - across the most platforms of any Winter Olympics in history of the XX Olympic Winter Games from Torino, Italy, Feb. 10-26. Other NBC Universal Olympic platforms include NBCOlympics.com, VOD, broadband and wireless offerings.

"Over the past decade, our Olympic revenues strictly from network primetime has shifted from about 75 percent in Atlanta in 1996 to only about 45 percent now in Torino - that is probably the clearest indication we have of how our business is changing," said Falco. "Our successful multi-platform Olympics strategy is a reflection of that shift."

Here is a rundown of how the Torino Winter Olympics "halo effect" benefited the various divisions and dayparts of NBC Universal:

VIEWERSHIP: 184 Million Total Viewers, Ties for 3rd Most Watched Winter Games in History; 8 of 10 U.S. TV Households Watch NBC Olympics

184 million total, unduplicated viewers, two-thirds of all Americans, watched the Olympics on the networks of NBC Universal, only two percent behind the 2002 Salt Lake Games (187 million), despite a six-hour time difference between Torino and the East Coast of the U.S. The Torino Winter Games ties Nagano as the third most watched Winter Games in history, behind only the tabloid-fueled Lillehammer Games on CBS in 1994 (204 million) and Salt Lake. Eight of ten U.S. TV households tuned in to NBC's coverage of the Winter Olympic Games.

PRIMETIME: NBC to Win Three Consecutive Weeks in Primetime for 1st Time in 18 Months

NBC delivered 20.2 million average viewers a night, and drew a 12.2 rating and 19 share for its primetime coverage of the Torino Games.

In strict primetime (8-11 p.m. ET/PT), over the 17 days of the Torino Games, NBC averaged a 12.1 HH rating and 20.2 million average viewers, more than double CBS's delivery (9.7M), up 74 percent over ABC (11.6M) and up 76 percent over Fox (11.5M), and is on pace to win its third consecutive week in primetime in viewers and households for the first time in 18 months. It's NBC's biggest in-season average viewer delivery since the Salt Lake Games in 2002.

To deliver the same number of gross household impressions that NBC's coverage of the Torino Winter Games delivered in primetime, a network would have to broadcast all of these events from the past year:
-The Super Bowl
-All Four Games of The World Series
-All Seven Games of The NBA Finals
-The Rose Bowl
-The NCAA Championship Basketball Game
-The Daytona 500
-The Masters

Over the 17 days of the Torino Games, NBC more than doubled its underlying primetime household rating this season (+101%, 12.1 v. 6.0) and was 89 percent higher than the underlying 4-network primetime average (6.4).


HH Rating 8.9/13 12.2/19
A18-49 3.8 6.1
Average Viewers 14.8 million 20.2 million
Total Unduplicated 41 million 184 million

NBC UNIVERSAL CABLE: Ratings Up Over Feb. 2005, Younger Viewers, More Viewers Sampling Programming

Olympics coverage on the cable networks of NBC Universal reached 62.3 million total, unduplicated viewers through Friday, up 18 percent from February 2005 (52.7 million), and up 31 percent from the cable reach during the Salt Lake Games (47.5 million).

The Torino Games on NBCU's cable networks averaged 704,000 viewers (0.51 HH rating), up 44 percent from pre-Olympic first quarter levels (489,000) and up 55 percent from the same time periods in Feb. 2005 (454,000). The Olympics (through Thursday, 2/23, the last available date) are attracting an audience with a median age of 48.7 years, 3.4 years younger than the February 2005 average, 6.0 years younger than the prior four week time period average, and 5.3 years younger than the pre-Olympic first quarter average.

USA Network: The Olympics on USA Network averaged 906,000 viewers (0.68 HH rating), up 29 percent over the same time periods in Feb. 2005.

MSNBC: The Olympics on MSNBC averaged 442,000 viewers (0.32 HH rating), up 123 percent over Feb. 2005 and up 110 percent over pre-Olympic first quarter levels. Through Thursday, "Hardball with Chris Matthews" is up 42 percent in the 5 p.m. ET hour (388,000 vs. 273,000) and up 43 percent in the 7 p.m. ET hour (572,000 v. 401,000) compared to pre-Olympic first quarter.

CNBC: CNBC's Olympic coverage averaged 669,000 viewers (0.46 HH rating), up 562 percent from pre-Olympic first quarter levels. Weekday coverage of the cult hit of the Winter Games, curling, 5-8 p.m. ET following "Closing Bell," delivered an average 876,000 viewers (0.60 HH rating), 579 percent higher than its February 2005 average in the time period (129,000) and 289 percent higher than its pre-Olympic first quarter levels (225,000). Through Thursday, "Mad Money," hosted by Jim Cramer, saw its ratings increase 72 percent during the Olympics compared to pre-Olympic first quarter levels (191,000 v. 111,000).

NBCOLYMPICS.COM: More than Doubles Page Views from Salt Lake, Surpasses Athens by 44%

NBCOlympics.com had an astounding 361 million page views through Sunday, more than double the number of page views during the Salt Lake Winter Games (145 million) and 44 percent higher than the total number during the Athens Games (251.4 million). The site has served 9.1 million video streams, equaling more than 125,000 hours of video watched on the web site. All the top seven page view days in the 10-year history of NBCOlympics.com have occurred during the Torino Games. 15.1 million unique users visited the web site, with expanded "Rewind" video offerings allowing users to watch select events in their entirety.

Additionally, nearly one million (988,058) of NBCOlympics.com's new virtual games were played, with an amazing average per player in-game time of 32.5 minutes.

NBCOlympics.com's other rich multimedia offerings include extensive video highlights, featuring complete runs and routines for U.S. competitors and top finishers, slideshows and unique content such as interviews not seen on the broadcast coverage.

1. Sasha Cohen, USA, figure skating
2. Tanith Belbin, USA, ice dancing
3. Shaun White, USA, snowboarding
4. Apolo Ohno, USA, short track speedskating
5. Emily Hughes, USA, figure skating
6. Gretchen Bleiler, USA, snowboarding
7. Kimmie Meissner, USA, figure skating
8. Chad Hedrick, USA, speedskating
9. Bode Miller, USA, alpine skiing
10. Cassie Johnson, USA, curling

The most trafficked international athlete on NBCOlympics.com was Russian figure skating bronze medalist Irina Slutskaya.

1. Sasha Cohen, USA, figure skating short program
2. Shaun White, USA, gold medal snowboard halfpipe
3. Lindsey Jacobellis, USA, silver medal snowboard cross
4. Sasha Cohen, USA, silver medal figure skating long program
5. Shizuka Arakawa, JPN, gold medal figure skating long program


"Olympic Zone," a partnership between NBC Olympics and NBC affiliated stations, posted double-digit growth in many markets for the Olympic "pre-game" show. In Portland, ratings rose 103 percent over the same time period in Feb. 2005, and 93 percent compared to the same time period in Jan. 2006. In Seattle, ratings rose 63 percent compared to Feb. 2005, and in Los Angeles, ratings rose 52 percent in the time period. Following are the markets showing the biggest year-to-year ratings increases:
1. Portland, Ore.: 103%
2. Phoenix: 78%
3. Las Vegas: 71%
4. Seattle: 63%
T5. Sacramento: 52%
T5. Los Angeles: 52%

NBC NEWS: "Today" Delivers Most Viewers Since 2004 Election; "Nightly" Ratings Rise

According to Nielsen fast affiliate time period data (7-8:15 a.m.) Monday through Thursday last week, NBC News' "Today" averaged 6.9 million total viewers, 1.8 million more than "Good Morning America" (+35%). This is "Today's" best weekly average in more than two years (Feb. 2, 2004) and its best advantage over "GMA" in 18 months.

From Feb. 13-19, "Today" averaged approximately 6.8 million viewers each morning, its best weekly average since the week of the presidential election in Nov. 2004, and led "Good Morning America" by 1.5 million viewers. "Today" delivered more viewers than any other NBC Olympics week ever, except for week one of the Salt Lake Games.

Its first full week at the Torino Winter Games, "Today" led the morning shows with a 5.2 household rating and 18 share and 6.8 million viewers. Its closest competitor, "GMA," stayed flat with a 4.1/14 and 5.3 million viewers.

Anchored from Torino Feb. 13-17, "NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams" had an impressive ratings win, outperforming ABC's "World News Tonight" and CBS' "Evening News" by placing first all five nights in total viewers, homes and among the key demographic adults 25-54. The NBC broadcast attracted 10.147 million total viewers, a 12% advantage (+1,109,000) over ABC's 9.038 million, and a 26% lead (+2,097,000) over CBS' 8.050 million. "Nightly News" has now placed first in total viewers for 84 of the last 85 weeks.

"Nightly's" average of 10.147 million total viewers last week represents the broadcast's best delivery since the week of January 16, 2006. In addition, the program's 10.147 delivery topped its own performance during the first and second weeks of the 2000 Sydney Games by 7% (9.450 million and 9.506 million respectively). And, the program's delivery last week (10.147) beat "Nightly News'" second week performance during the 2004 Athens Games by 2% (9.981 million). "Nightly News" ratings data from last week was not immediately available.

"ACCESS HOLLYWOOD": Up 15% on NBC Affiliated Stations

Through Friday, "Access Hollywood," NBC Universal's syndicated half-hour entertainment newsmagazine, co-hosted by anchor Billy Bush in Torino, saw its ratings jump by 15 percent on NBC affiliated stations airing it preceding the Olympics, compared to pre-Olympic first quarter levels.

  [february 2006]  


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