NBC is touting big ratings for their prime-time coverage.
Their prime-time average rating is up 15.1% in U.S. households compared to the 2006 Winter Games.
But are the ratings as successful as they seem?
The 2006 Winter Games in Torino, Italy were the least-watched Olympics on U.S. TV since 1988, according to USA Today. Time zones and tape delays kept U.S. viewers from tuning in.
So USA Today considers a “potentially more telling comparison: Vancouver vs. NBC’s 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games.”
Yes, Salt Lake City is in America, and it got built-in pre-Games home-court hype such as the national torch run. But the two sites have time zones just an hour apart. And viewers in, say, Tampa or Toledo might not feel so much more emotionally closer to Salt Lake than to Vancouver that it would greatly affect their Olympic viewing.
Compared with NBC’s Salt Lake City coverage — which averaged 19.9% of U.S. TV households through its first four nights — NBC’s Vancouver ratings are down 24.1%.
Of course, more people watched TV in 2002. NBC is nabbing an average of more than 26.4 million viewers per night, which is a feat in 2010. Although, they still haven’t been able to beat American Idol.
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