NBC ‘Rio Olympics 2016’ Prime-time Programming Disliked by Viewers, Watched Online Streaming Instead


For the last Olympics held in London last 2012, the overall TV viewership reached an average of 31 million and it seems like NBC's television broadcasting of Rio Olympics 2016 today is not stepping up to exceed the figure. However, the broadcasting company is seeing much bigger picture after a stumbling performance in prime-time programming.

According to a report from New York Times, NBC's performance for the opening ceremony of the Olympics dropped 35% and 28% on the first of competition to compare last four year's performance. Numerically, the 35.6 million everyday viewers in London Games fell to 28.6 million in Rio Games. By looking at the numbers, this should give NBC enough reason to feel inferior but the company sees it otherwise. Instead of treating the matters as disheartening, executive produce Jim Bell sees a much bigger picture behind the quasi-unsuccessful prime-time programming.

In an interview with USA Today, Bell said, "Everything is available on streaming - all caps, underline, italics. Every competition can be watched by every person in America as it happens." It can be recalled that NBC set a live stream for all events during the London Summer Games in 2012 and Sochi Winter Games in 2014. However, in Rio Olympics 2016, NBC has live-streaming in all NBC-Universal Olympic networks and connecting it to TV for the very first time.

Taking advantage the availability of internet at home, NBC had its best viewership of the Rio Games on the first day of competition. With NBC Olympic Broadcasting services and social media platforms like Twitter, viewers had a long list of opportunity to watch the Rio Games as it happens.

Bell acknowledged that media consumption is facing a new era and emphasized the importance of internet as part of contemporary media. He even revealed a clue as to how they would plan to cover the succeeding Olympic Games. 

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