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[08/26/08 - 02:47 PM]
Beijing Olympics Set Record as Most-Viewed Event in U.S. TV History with 214 Million Viewers
NBC Universal spins the numbers for its Olympics coverage.

[via press release from NBC]

BEIJING OLYMPICS SET RECORD AS MOST-VIEWED EVENT IN U.S. TV HISTORY WITH 214 MILLION VIEWERS

BEIJING OLYMPICS SET RECORD AS MOST-VIEWED EVENT IN U.S. TV HISTORY WITH 214 MILLION VIEWERS

OLYMPICS CAST 'HALO' ACROSS NBC UNIVERSAL

NEW YORK � Aug. 26, 2008 � NBC Universal's Beijing Olympic coverage was viewed by more Americans than any event in U.S. television history, according to data provided by Nielsen Media Research. NBCU's coverage reached 214 million total viewers, shattering the previous mark set by the 1996 Atlanta Olympics (209M) by five million viewers and surpassing the 2004 Athens Games (203M) by 11 million viewers. The Beijing Games averaged 27.7 million viewers and scored a 17-day rating of 16.2/28 to post significant gains over the 2004 Athens Games. Sunday night's Closing Ceremony had the best rating for any Summer Olympics Closing Ceremony outside the U.S. since the 1976 Montreal Games.

"This audience record is something I thought I'd never see again, but what really satisfied me is the way in which these Olympics truly captivated and seemed to inspire our country," said Dick Ebersol, Chairman, NBC Universal Sports & Olympics and Executive Producer of NBC Universal's Beijing Olympics coverage.

"For me, the greatest measure of success at an Olympics is the number of messages I receive from parents of young kids who have fallen in love with the Olympics. That child means more to me than anything because I think a love affair with the Olympics is the greatest in all of sports."

MOST VIEWED EVENTS IN U.S. TV HISTORY:

1. 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, 214 million (17 days)

2. 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, 209 million (17 days)

3. 1994 Lillehammer Winter Olympics, 204 million (16 days)

4. 2004 Athens Summer Olympics, 203 million (17 days)

5. 1988 Seoul Summer Olympics, 194 million (17 days)

VIEWERS AND RATING BOTH UP SIGNIFICANTLY FROM ATHENS:

� The Beijing Olympics 17-day average primetime viewership is 27.7 million, the best primetime average viewership for a complete Summer Olympics outside the U.S since Montreal in 1976, and 13 percent ahead of Athens in 2004 (24.6 million).

� NBC's average of a 16.2 rating, 28 share is the best rating for a Summer Olympics outside the U.S. since Barcelona in 1992 (17.1/33) and is an eight percent increase over Athens in 2004 (15.0/26).

. With the Beijing Olympics, NBC became the most dominant network in primetime for 17 consecutive nights since the advent of Nielsen People Meters in 1987. On each of its 17 nights of Beijing Olympic coverage, NBC enjoyed a 244 percent or greater lead over the nearest broadcast network in the adult 18 to 49 demographic (important to advertisers), a 225 or greater percent gain in viewers (persons 2+), and 200 or larger percent in household rating.

. NBC also set records in Nielsen People Meter history for biggest margins over the combined major-network competition for three consecutive weeks, with wins of 24 percent or more over ABC, CBS and Fox combined for three straight weeks in 18-49 and 23 percent or more in total viewers.

OLYMPICS IN PRIMETIME DOMINATE COMPETITION:

� In primetime, NBC's Beijing Games won all 100-rated half-hours against its entire network competition.

CLOSING CEREMONY BEST NON U.S. SUMMER RATING SINCE 1976:

� Sunday's Closing Ceremony garnered 27.8 million average viewers, a 42 percent gain from the Closing Ceremony night in Athens (19.6 million). The night earned a 15.5 rating/25 share, a 30 percent increase from Athens (11.9/20). In both categories, the Closing Ceremony from Beijing was the best delivery for a Summer Olympics Closing Ceremony outside the U.S. since Montreal in 1976.

NBC Universal's 3,600 hours of Beijing Olympic coverage not only fueled record-breaking Olympic viewership, but also cast an Olympic "halo" across the many different divisions of NBC Universal. The unprecedented Olympic coverage drove record numbers of viewers to NBCU's cable networks; it also produced impressive gains in viewership and competitive advantage for NBC News' "Today," "NBC Nightly News," and NBC's affiliated stations.

Following are the details of the Beijing Olympic "halo" effect:

OLYMPICS HELP WIDEN TODAY SHOW'S LEAD OVER GMA:

* Based on data during the Beijing Olympics through last Thursday (8/8-8/21/08) only:

� TODAY averaged 6.272 million viewers, a 69 percent (2,553,000) advantage over GMA's 3.719 million.

� TODAY widened its advantage over GMA in all ratings categories. Specifically, the NBC program increased its lead in homes (from 19 percent to 69 percent), total viewers (from 21 percent up to 69 percent), rating adults 18-49 (from 30 percent up to 90 percent), and rating adults 25-54 (from 21 percent up to 77 percent) versus its pre-Olympic 3rd Quarter 2008 performance.

� TODAY posted its best Summer Olympic advantage over GMA in total viewers since the 1996 Atlanta Games.

NIGHTLY NEWS TAKES FULL ADVANTAGE OF OLYMPIC 'HALO':

* Based on data for the full Beijing Olympic Games (8/8-8/24/08):

. Nightly News delivered 9.087 million total viewers, a 32 percent advantage (2,185,000) over ABC World News and 63 percent (3,522,000) more than CBS Evening News.

. Nightly had 42 percent of the total 3-network share of news audience, the highest percentage during any Summer Olympic Games.

NBCU'S CABLE NETWORKS MAKE MAJOR OLYMPIC GAINS:

. 88 million viewers tuned into the Beijing Games on the cable networks of NBC . This is 28 percent more than Athens and more than any previous Olympics.

. CNBC posted a 0.32 household rating, 229,000 persons 18-49 and 236,000 persons 25-54 during the Beijing Olympics. Versus the prior 4-week average, CNBC was up triple-digits across all key demos.

. MSNBC posted a 0.46 household rating, 267,000 persons 18-49 and 267,000 persons 25-54 during the Beijing Games. Versus the prior 4-week average and year ago average, MSNBC was up triple-digits among all key demographics.

. USA averaged a 0.70 rating, 491,000 persons 18-49 and 484,000 persons 25-54 with all Olympic programming. Versus the prior 4-week average and the year ago average, USA was up double-digits across all key demos.

. Oxygen posted a 0.43 household rating, 291,000 persons 18-49 and 313,000 persons 25-54 with all Olympic programming during the 6-8 PM block - up double to triple-digits versus the prior 4-week average and the year-ago average.

NBCOLYMPICS.COM ON MSN POSTS RECORD NUMBERS: For the complete Beijing Games, NBCOlympics.com has more than doubled the combined totals for the Athens and Torino Games in page views and unique users, while increasing videos streamed by more than seven times.

� VIDEO STREAMS: 75.5 million for Beijing, 10.8 million for Athens and Torino Games combined (+601%)

� UNIQUE USERS: 51.9 million for Beijing, 25.2 million for Athens and Torino Games combined (+106%)

� PAGE VIEWS: 1.24 billion for Beijing, 561.1 million for Athens and Torino Games combined (+122%)

� HOUR OF VIDEO STREAMED: 9.9 million hours of video consumed through for Beijing Games is the equivalent of 1,126 years of video.

TOP 10 METERED MARKETS FOR BEIJING GAMES IN PRIMETIME:
T1. Denver 23.1/40
T1. Salt Lake City 23.1/45
3. Minneapolis 22.1/41
T4. Indianapolis 21.3/37
T4. San Diego 21.3/39
T6. Baltimore 21.1/35
T6. Oklahoma City 21.1/33
8. Nashville 21.0/33
9. Columbus, Ohio 20.4/35
10. Portland, Ore. 20.2/41





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