NBC’s TV audience for the summer Olympics is down a whopping 45% from the Rio games in 2016. Viewership in prime-time is even worse, down 51%.
The good news for NBC is that its prime-time coverage on TV is still averaging roughly 13.5 million viewers, bringing in a bigger audience than most of its rivals’ broadcasts do right now. NBC’s total audience delivery — which compiles viewership across broadcast TV, cable and streaming — gives that prime-time number a little boost, averaging 16.8 million viewers, according to the network.
The other bright spot for NBC is that the Tokyo Games have found an audience via digital platforms and streaming.
The network boasted that Peacock, its streaming service, has notched strong viewership for the games. On Tuesday, NBC said that viewers had streamed 3 billion minutes of Olympics coverage across NBCOlympics.com, the NBC Sports app and its Peacock streaming services. Moreover, NBC said that number is “pacing to surpass Rio Olympics total in next few days.”
One major reason: The TV world is drastically different than it was five years ago. With the surge of social media and streaming, there’s more for audiences to watch than ever, and that leads to more media fragmentation.
Whatever the reason, the TV numbers for the Olympics are down. And the games are running out of time to make up any lost ground for NBC and its advertisers.