Olympic Streaming Numbers Soar As Overall Viewership Plummets

    • NBCUniversal recorded a 72% increase in streaming audiences for the Tokyo Olympics.
    • The network posted its lowest overall viewership numbers in 33 years.

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NBCUniversal recorded a 72% increase in streaming audiences for the Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony on Friday, compared to the 2016 edition— but posted its lowest overall viewership numbers in 33 years.

  • Including streaming, NBC’s Olympics audience dropped 36% to 17 million viewers. The Rio Opening Ceremony had an audience of 26.5 million people; London’s 2012 ceremony reached 40.7 million.
  • NBCUniversal streaming service Peacock didn’t launch until 2020 — the 2016 streaming numbers come from NBC’s Olympics site and the NBC Sports app.

The Comcast-owned company redeemed itself as the weekend went on. Viewership of morning cable coverage increased 24% on Saturday compared to the same day in Rio, and Peacock landed its most-watched Saturday since the service’s launch.

It’s a good sign for Olympic advertisers, who have spent approximately $1 billion for the Tokyo Games. NBCUniversal spent roughly $12 billion for media rights to 10 Olympics Games through 2032.

After a shaky start — including Simone Biles recording uncharacteristic errors, and Team USA losing its first Olympic basketball game since 2004 — the U.S. is back among the leaders with 14 medals (seven gold, three silver, and four bronze).