There were more medals for Team USA yesterday at the Rio Olympics with swimming and volleyball, but that’s likely not the takeaway for most of the third day of the Games. Firstly, there was the widely viewed and virally spread dark game face that Michael Phelps put on as South African rival Chad le Clos tried to get inside his head before their 200m butterfly semifinal. Secondly, that scowl has turned into a smile for NBC, as Rio is finally catching up to London 2012.
With 28.76 million viewers in early numbers, NBC’s 8–11 PM primetime package is steady with the comparable night of the last Summer Games. Also full of water action, that July 30, 2012 broadcast snagged an audience of 31.42 million in early numbers – which means right now Rio is just 8% behind London, the closest the 2016 Games have gotten to the record-breaking 2012 Games in NBC’s primetime coverage. The Day 3 2012 viewership was adjusted up a tick to 31.6 million later on.
Among adults 18-49, last night’s Olympics package drew an 8.6/29 in fast affiliates. That’s down 18% from Day 3 of London in the key demo and 4% from Sunday’s coverage. Expect some adjustments in those numbers, especially the viewership, later today. An indication of sorts where that might go may be in the metered market numbers, which have NBC getting a 19.2/31 – another Rio best.
With live streaming minutes on the double-digit rise for the Comcast-owed net from 2012, NBC is expected to put out Total Audience Delivery numbers later today. Very aware of how Rio has lagged in primetime to London, the network obviously hopes the broader consumption meld of broadcast, cable and digital will reflect a strong reach in an era that admittedly is far more online than just four years ago.
Fox, CBS and the CW were all encores last night, with Supergirl repeats popping up on the latter two, but ABC had a full slate of originals starting with Bachelor In Paradise (1.4/5). The two-hour reality romance show was even with its season opener of last week but lead-out Mistresses (0.5/2) was down a tenth from its August 2 show.