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Hot on the heels of the best rating OC since 2002 and best rating non-US OC ever, now:

Olympic Games Draw 97 Million U.S. Viewers for First Two Days

Feb. 14 (Bloomberg) -- The first two days of Winter Olympics coverage in Vancouver was watched by about 97 million people in the U.S., the most since 1994 when interest in the Lillehammer Games was boosted by an off-ice incident involving U.S. figure skaters Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan.

NBC said its audience for last night’s broadcast surpassed that for all 17 nights of the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, according to data released by Nielsen Media Research.

Speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno won his sixth Olympic medal in the men’s 1,500 short-track event yesterday to tie Bonnie Blair as the most-decorated American Winter Olympian. Freestyle skier Hannah Kearney won the first gold medal for the U.S. in the women’s moguls competition.

“It’s simply remarkable for a Saturday night, television’s least-watched night, to surpass the audience total for every one of the 17 nights of the last Winter Olympics,” without the benefit of a figure-skating event, NBC Sports chairman Dick Ebersol said in a statement today from the General Electric Co. unit.

NBC said last night’s broadcast was seen by 55 million total viewers, six million more than the first night of competition in Turin, which featured figure skating.

The total audience of 97 million for the first two days is the most for a Winter Olympics since 100 million for the start of the Lillehammer Games, NBC said. Kerrigan was injured before the 1994 Olympics in an attack planned by Harding’s ex-husband and bodyguard. She recovered to win a silver medal.

Fairfield, Connecticut-based GE has said NBC will lose $250 million airing the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

- Bloomberg

So, what were all those arguments that because the IOC had disrespected the US and Chicago, and because these were gonna be on foreign soil, NBC was heading for a ratings drubbing on these? The US public were gonna revolt against the evil IOC and Olympics?

If they've lost revenue, it's the GFC and their own fault. The US eyeballs are still there as much as ever.

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2002 was in SLC, remember? It's mainly based on the location. Vancouver's relatively friendly time zone is doing wonders for NBC.

Of course. Not disagreeing. Just crowing over those who were predicting ratings disaster for Vancouver before the games because the American public was supposedly ready to snub the IOC over Chicago's loss.

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Of course. Not disagreeing. Just crowing over those who were predicting ratings disaster for Vancouver before the games because the American public was supposedly ready to snub the IOC over Chicago's loss.

LOL, that is absolutely hysterical.

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Of course. Not disagreeing. Just crowing over those who were predicting ratings disaster for Vancouver before the games because the American public was supposedly ready to snub the IOC over Chicago's loss.

Not that I have been following things as closely since October, but I didn't get the feeling from people that Americans were going to snub the IOC by not watching these Games. Of course, the time zone is the main factor, and I have no doubt that Rio will get great ratings from Americans as well.

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Monday is going to be the acid test with pairs final versus the American Idol juggernaut.

You know, I almost hate to suggest this but... could there have been an uptick in the ratings just out of morbid curiosity following the death of the luger? Obviously, not going to count for all the number, but perhaps a percentage.

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Those are really wonky numbers. But the BIGGEST audience for an Opening Ceremony was still Salt Lake, whose Opening viewers clocked in a 45.6 million.

But NBC will still lose money on these Games; stupid over-bidding by Ebersole. I hope his new bosses at Comcast clip his wings.

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Those are really wonky numbers. But the BIGGEST audience for an Opening Ceremony was still Salt Lake, whose Opening viewers clocked in a 45.6 million.

But NBC will still lose money on these Games; stupid over-bidding by Ebersole. I hope his new bosses at Comcast clip his wings.

Hey Baron...anyone ever asked Dick about the relationship he and Alex Giladi have vis-a-vis the IOC and broadcast rights? Must be a great position to go into any bidding process for broadcast rights being best buddies with some of the head cheeses, lose money on the deal and still keep your job...

Edited by eusebius65
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Meh, the average American joe by now most likely has forgotten all about (if they even had a clue about it to begin with) that Chicago lost it's 2016 bid. As much as I hate to say it, but only us here, the most avid Olympic bid watchers, are the only ones that take notice in the whole process.

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I think Chicago losing the Olympic bid is not completely forgotten, at least not in Chicago. I think more may remember this failed bid over NY 2012 since it really was perceived as the beginning of negative sentiment about Obama not getting the job done (in relation to real issues at hand like health care, the economy and foreign policy). Even when Obama traveled to Mass. to campaign for the Democratic senator, some commentators brought up the Olympic debacle in conjunction with campaigning in Virginia and New Jersey, only to have those Democrats loose as well. Simply put, Obama's lobbying as president has a morbid track record.

Sure in a year or two it will be long forgotten, and no one really talked about it during the Vancouver Games.

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I think Chicago losing the Olympic bid is not completely forgotten, at least not in Chicago.

Of course it still stings a little in Chicago & for the people that were directly involved with the bid & for the others that were really supportive of the bid (like quite a number of Gamesbids forumers), too. That goes without saying. But again, the 'average joe' in other parts of the country (like Nebraska, Maine, Montana or even Los Angeles, etc) don't really give 'two hoots' about it. They went about their merry business as soon as the 2016 verdict was given, if they were even paying attention to begin with.

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Of course it still stings a little in Chicago & for the people that were directly involved with the bid & for the others that were really supportive of the bid (like quite a number of Gamesbids forumers), too. That goes without saying. But again, the 'average joe' in other parts of the country (like Nebraska, Maine, Montana or even Los Angeles, etc) don't really give 'two hoots' about it. They went about their merry business as soon as the 2016 verdict was given, if they were even paying attention to begin with.

Hey....LA cares dude.

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I think Chicago losing the Olympic bid is not completely forgotten, at least not in Chicago. I think more may remember this failed bid over NY 2012 since it really was perceived as the beginning of negative sentiment about Obama not getting the job done (in relation to real issues at hand like health care, the economy and foreign policy). Even when Obama traveled to Mass. to campaign for the Democratic senator, some commentators brought up the Olympic debacle in conjunction with campaigning in Virginia and New Jersey, only to have those Democrats loose as well. Simply put, Obama's lobbying as president has a morbid track record.

Sure in a year or two it will be long forgotten, and no one really talked about it during the Vancouver Games.

Poor Obama...he comes into the final presentation to press the flesh and smile the winning smile, and meanwhile he's got a slightly wonky product that has lost traction in a cabal that would make the editorial room at Fox News look like play group. If hadn't have fronted up to the IOC when he was in the neighbourhood he'd have been pilloried, he did and the bid goes down and he gets it in the neck.

So very very few politicians have ever used the Olympics well and artfully to improve their standing, or at least bask in the glory without being seen as exploitative. Tony Blair and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have done a good job of taking IOC plaudits and a winning bid, but the best was John Fahey. He went from being the premier of the largest state in Australia to being now the WADA supremo.

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Poor Obama...he comes into the final presentation to press the flesh and smile the winning smile, and meanwhile he's got a slightly wonky product that has lost traction in a cabal that would make the editorial room at Fox News look like play group. If hadn't have fronted up to the IOC when he was in the neighbourhood he'd have been pilloried, he did and the bid goes down and he gets it in the neck.

So very very few politicians have ever used the Olympics well and artfully to improve their standing, or at least bask in the glory without being seen as exploitative. Tony Blair and Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva have done a good job of taking IOC plaudits and a winning bid, but the best was John Fahey. He went from being the premier of the largest state in Australia to being now the WADA supremo.

Obama was on a hiding to nothing, yet the whole fixation with "Will he or won't he go?" ultimately became counterproductive. The IOC were already taking stick that they let the charm of Blair and Putin sway their sentiments to London and Sochi. They were already defensive about it, and were always likely to want to demonstrate somehow that they weren't just swooning suckers for the superstars of the world political stage.

Meanwhile, it was almost becoming a mantra in the US - "We need Obama there in Copenhagen". Never mind the mixed signals that that sent - that they were unsure about the quality of their bid to win on its merits and needed to repeat another glamour turn to sway the impressionable IOC members.

Obama was backed into a corner - not go, and if the US lost he'd get the blame and be accused of not doing his all for the bid ans for his home political state/city. Go, and, well, we've seen the outcome on his reputation.

If anything, from the reports coming from the session, the hasty flying visit, the intense security escort, and the annoyance the size of the Presidential retinue delivered by invading the space of the Lords of Lausanne probably cost more votes than would have been won.

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Waspish world headlines continue not to be affecting US TV ratings:

Olympics prove popular with TV viewers

NEW YORK — NBC desperately needed some good news in prime time and, so far, the Olympics have provided it.

Through four nights, household ratings for the Vancouver Olympics are up 15 percent over the 2006 games in Turin, Italy, the Nielsen Co. said. NBC was privately expecting an increase in ratings, since Olympics based on this continent that include live events in prime time do better than overseas games, but the Vancouver Games have done especially well.

The strong numbers won't offset NBC's expected loss of more than $200 million on the Vancouver Games, but ad sales executives say enough customers are responding that the company could make millions more, perhaps tens of millions more, than anticipated.

"The fact of the matter is we are really thrilled by the performance of the Olympics," said Alan Wurtzel, NBC Universal's top research executive.

There's still time to go, and NBC's success so far in working past unexpected changes to the prime-time shows — postponement of Alpine skiing events and Monday's odd delay of speedskating competition because the ice indoors wasn't ready — could catch up.

Yet the early success of the Olympics mirrors a counterintuitive trend: Ratings for big events on broadcast television have been soaring even though viewers have many more entertainment options.

The opening ceremony in Vancouver on Friday drew 32.6 million viewers despite its somber mood due to the death of a Georgian luger in a practice run. That was up from the 22.2 million who watched the first night in Turin, Nielsen said.

"I was really surprised at how well the opening ceremony did because there really wasn't that much chatter about it," said Brad Adgate, an analyst for Horizon Media.

The next two nights both had larger audiences than any night in Turin, Nielsen said.

That shouldn't be too much of a surprise to people who had been following broadcast trends.

The Super Bowl just set a record for most-viewed U.S. television event of all time, with an audience of 106 million people. NFL conference championships hit viewing levels not seen since the 1980s. World Series games, on average, had six million more viewers last year than in 2008. The Grammy Awards zoomed to 26 million viewers, up from 19 million in 2009. Golden Globes ratings were up 14 percent.

"There are very few big events that enable people to share an experience anymore," Wurtzel said. "There are very few things that people can come in the next day and talk about. I really believe that people are looking for that kind of experience."

Episodic television used to provide it — "Who saw last night's "Seinfeld" or "Cheers?"' But that rarely happens anymore, he said.

The Olympics, he said, are the ultimate reality show.

There are other factors to explain the increased ratings: The proliferation of high-definition television makes watching sports at home that much more appealing. Nielsen is also measuring viewership on digital video recorders, which it didn't four years ago, said Sharianne Brill, a TV analyst formerly of Carat USA.

"People are just home more," Brill said. "Weather has been a factor; there have been a lot of storms. People are unemployed and less likely to go out, and the Olympics provide quality family entertainment."

By showing more thrilling, X Games-inspired events like snowboarding, NBC also is pulling in younger viewers to the Olympics. Viewership among men aged 18 to 34 was up 19 percent through the weekend, Nielsen said. Among people aged 18 to 24, viewership is up 48 percent.

NBC on Tuesday also unveiled new measurements designed to convince advertisers of the advantage of being seen on the Olympics. For example, Google searches of "We Are the World" leaped tenfold right about the time NBC previewed a remake of that video on Friday night, Wurtzel said.

Associated Press

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Olympics also crushed the NBA All-Star Game, if anyone was curious.

Why the NBA decided to have the all star game during the Olympics is beyond me, a very stupid decision - I live in Dallas and the only reason I knew that we were hosting the All Star game was the big billboard plastered on a skyscraper in downtown. In fact, I think the Olympics are more popular here than the All-Star game.

The Pacific time zone and the fact that Canada is out neighbor to the north is what is helping ratings with NBC.

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Monday is going to be the acid test with pairs final versus the American Idol juggernaut.

And, no, it didn't beat Idol But it did much better than Torino:

...

Alan Wurtzel, the president of research for NBC, conceded that “Idol” won head to head. “It’s a force of nature,” he said, but added, “We whittled down their margin this time.”

That would be in comparison to the trouncing “Idol” put on the Winter Olympics four years ago when the Games were in Turin, Italy. Four years ago “Idol,” with just an hour-long edition at 8 p.m. Eastern, reached 27 million viewers compared with 16.1 million for that night of the Olympics.

This year “Idol” expanded to a more formidable two hours and attracted 23.6 million viewers, while the Olympics climbed to 19.7 million.

NBC did better after “Idol” ended; Olympic viewership rose to 23 million from 10 to 10:15 p.m. Eastern from 19.9 million in the last 15 minutes against the Fox series.

...

New York Times

You'd think today's three US golds should boost Wed nights ratings.

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Vancouver ratings not measuring up to Salt Lake's 2002 numbers

-USA Today

NBC's Vancouver Olympics Ratings Are Down 24.1% Compared To Salt Lake City

-The Wire

The terrible luge tragedy created a lot of morbid interest in the begining, of course it's not going to beat Salt Lake. Nobody I'm interacting with all day is watching, they think I'm a bit odd for being excited about it.

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The average American had no idea that Chicago was bidding until the day the IOC made the decision so any prediction of 'backlash' by not watching is laughable. As long as Team USA wins and tops the podium enough times, Americans will watch. As much as I'd like to say the average Joe cares about the spirit of the Games and would watch regardless of the results, it's just not true. If Team USA starts to stumble in either WOG or SOG, the ratings will fall. The IOC should thank the USOC for the revenue sharing agreement. That money is training Team USA which is what is filling the IOC coffers!

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American viewers strike TV gold for the Vancouver Olympic Games

CHICAGO — Some 152 million people have watched some part of the Vancouver Olympics over the first seven days of the games, NBC Sports said Friday, and the telecasts have had the most average viewers since the 1994 Winter Games.

Through the first seven days of the Torino Games in 2006, there were about 146 million viewers, NBC said, citing data from The Nielsen Co.

On Thursday evening, Olympic broadcasts on NBC Universal networks were seen by 77 million viewers, 14 million more than the first Thursday from the 2006 Games. Competing programming included ABC's Grey's Anatomy and Private Practice and CBS's Survivor.

NBC was able to top Fox's American Idol on Wednesday night by 12 million viewers, and beat the perennial No. 1 show on television by 30 per cent among the coveted 18-49 demographic. (Fox is owned by News Corp., parent of MarketWatch, the publisher of this report.)

An average of 26.6 million viewers have watched the Vancouver Games through the first seven nights, the most since CBS drew 37.5 million for the opening week of the Lillehammer Games 16 years ago, when many viewers who cared little for winter sports flocked to their sets to watch the Tonya Harding-Nancy Kerrigan saga unfold.

The popularity of the Vancouver Olympics is part of a resurgence in live-event viewing in recent months, says Bill Carroll, vice president and director of programming at the media buying firm Katz Television Group.

CBS's telecast of Super Bowl XLIV earlier this month became the most-watched television program of all time, and ratings for the Golden Globe Awards and last September's Emmy Awards were higher than they were a year earlier.

"Partly it's the economy — more people are at home," Carroll said. "Part of it is the increasing consumer acceptance of HD television. And of course, this has been one of the worst winters in memory. When you have snow in 49 of the 50 states, that's going to have an impact."

MarketWatch

Edited by Sir Roltel
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