There was a bit of déjà vu last night in Rio as Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte faced off in the pool just like they did on Day 5 of the London Games 4-years ago. NBC’s primetime package coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics also saw a surprise swimming win for Kazakhstan with Dmitriy Balandin taking gold in the men’s 200m breaststroke plus men’s gymnastics and beach volleyball.
With none of the highly watched women’s gymnastics on Wednesday, NBC’s Olympic coverage had another 2012 déjà vu – it went down. In fast affiliates, last night’s 8 – 11 PM broadcast took a tumble to a 7.6/27 among adults 18-49 and 26.12 million viewers.
While not a low for Rio, that’s down 21 % in the key demo from what the net’s primetime coverage of Day 5 of London 2012 pulled in. Last night’s ratings result also is down 24% from what the Rio-high so far of Tuesday pulled in with final numbers, which had risen a tenth in adjustments. Day 4 of the Rio Games did have women’s gymnastics, it should be added, with the Final Five scoring gold.
Here’s the thing to consider though – the almost same thing happen in London in 2012. With no women’s gymnastics, Day 5 of 2012 also saw a drop from the previous day, though it went up 3% in early demo numbers from the comparable day in Beijing in 2008. Viewershipwise, last night declined 15% from what London, which had hit a 36-year non-U.S. Games Wednesday high. This year’s NBC first Wednesday of the Summer Olympics fell 22% in viewers from those who tuned in for the August 9 broadcast.
NBC is claiming an Olympic gold this morning with live streaming minutes topping 1 billion for the first time ever as of Wednesday. Indicative of viewing patterns, the 1.05 billion live streaming minutes that the Comcast-owned net’s coverage has drawn is showing just how eyeballs have gone digital and is now up 232% over where it was in 2012 at this stage of the Games.
Back on broadcast TV, ABC and Fox were all encores but CBS and the CW put up a fight against the Olympics. Big Brother (1.8/6), Penn & Teller: Fool Us (0.4/1) and Whose Line Is It Anyway? (0.4/1) were all even with their pre-Olympics August 3 shows while 10 PM’s American Gothic (0.4/2) was down a tenth.