NBC's Olympics had a 'nightmare' drop in ratings -- here's how it could fix the problem

The festive Rio Olympics closing ceremony failed to lift the Summer Games’ generally sagging ratings and showed that NBC could probably stand to change its game plan for the future.

According to Deadline, the audience for Sunday’s closing ceremony was down from both the London 2012 and Beijing 2008 Summer Games. In early metered market numbers, Rio’s closer earned an 11.7 rating. That’s 31% lower than the London 2012 summer games.

NBC’s CEO previously said that a 20% drop in ratings for the Olympics would be a “nightmare,” as Bloomberg reported. That seems to have more than come true.

Further ratings information, including total viewership, will be available later on Monday.

Suffice it to say, these games weren’t quite the gold standard that NBC was expecting. That has led many to wonder if the Olympics broadcast needs a fresh approach.

Variety suggested that NBC highlight this year’s big Olympic stars after the games so viewers can really bond themselves to the athletes, rather than having their recognition fall off after the games. It also feels that the network should highlight the training and competitions in between the Olympic Games more.

“That longer lead time not only creates more entry points for fans to get hooked on the Olympics, it better establishes the incredible stakes involved in athletes who train and compete for the entirety of their lives to get that one shot at a medal,” Variety’s Andrew Wallenstein wrote.

It should be added that live TV ratings are down across the board due to delayed viewing platforms like DVR, online, and streaming apps.

And as Business Insider’s Nathan McAlone pointed out previously, there is a silver lining.

“NBC has had about 24% more people who streamed the Rio Olympics through NBC’s app and website than streamed the London Games over the same period,” he wrote.

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