UPDATED, 2:38 PM: The first Monday of the XXIII Winter Olympics have turned out to be a chilly case of the more things change, the more they stay the same – at least when it comes to viewership.
With a total audience delivery average of 22.3 million for last night’s primetime coverage from PyeongChang, the Chloe Kim gold medal winning opening Monday of the 2018 Games is almost the same as the February 10, 2014 first Monday of the Sochi games for NBC.
Now, that’s the Comcast-owned outlet throwing eyeballs for NBC proper, NBC Sports Network and digital platforms like the NBC Sports app into one giant ratings jambalaya against what was a NBC-only affair four years ago.
Breaking it down a bit to just NBC vs. NBC and the situation is a little less sunny, a little. Last night’s NBC-only viewership for the 8 – 11 PM ET Mike Tirico hosted coverage drew in an audience of 20.9 million. That’s a dip of 7% from the opening Monday of Sochi. Perhaps more telling is also a 17% drop from the first Monday of the XXI Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, which was a U.S.-based TV event in all but flag waving.
Compared to the last Winter Olympics and in the clearly changing viewing environment, that 6% decline on the main net is what NBC executives copped to today as the average over the first five days of the Games out of South Korea.
However, as has become the chant out of NBC, they also touted the big gains on other platforms. Admittedly, those digital numbers do have a strong upward arch even of the actual numbers are still relatively low.
Having already surpassed the total Sochi live streaming minutes on Monday, the PyeongChang Games today have be accessed by 6.6 million digital devices. That’s now ahead of Rio 2016 by a hair at this point and more than three times as much as Sochi 2014 had in total. For point of reference NBC Sports Digital had an average minute audience of 283,000 during last night’ snowboarding, luge and skiing filled primetime.
PREVIOUSLY, 7:21 AM: With a total of six medals so far at the XXIII Winter Olympics and trailing Canada and Norway, it might be time for more of Team USA to get “hangry” like gold-winning Chloe Kim.
Just before grabbing the gold, that’s what the California-born snowboarder tweeted out between runs from South Korea last night:
Wish I finished my breakfast sandwich but my stubborn self decided not to and now I’m getting hangry
— Chloe Kim (@chloekimsnow) February 13, 2018
With moves like that and her victory on a snow-packed night of coverage, the already media-savvy and four-time X Games champ was the big winner and big star of NBC’s primetime first Monday out of the PyeongChang Games. A full night of American moves that also included some luge action and amazing gravity-defying feats by a clearly pumped Shaun White.
All of which added up to one of the strongest performance for the Comcast-owned net so far out of South Korea, with a 14.5 metered market result from the combo NBC-NBC Sports Network coverage. Putting the spotlight on NBC alone, the network hit a 13.3 in the early metric for the Mike Tirico-fronted primetime show that was live across all time zones.
As the once-spurned snowboarding took center slope, so to speak, and faced real competing players on the other nets, it means that the first Monday of the increasingly chilly PyeongChang 2018 is holding nice and steady with the results of February 10, 2014 out of Sochi. That night four years ago saw Canadian moguls skier Alex Bilodeau make some Olympics history when he nailed his second consecutive gold — a first for the Games in freestyle skiing.
Comparing NBC ’18 to NBC ’14, last night’s metered market ratings are down a slight 3%. Taking the multi-offerings of the duel NBC and NBCSN strategy that NBCUniversal and Jim Bell are employing for this Olympics (and including the West Coast encore), the coverage is up 6% in MM results.
To add a bit more perspective, the first Monday of the 2014 Winter Olympics went on to snag a total viewership on NBC of 22.4 million. Pulling back even further, that was a drop of 11% from the first Monday of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, which fell on the Presidents Day holiday.
By the way, perhaps revealing the power of social media trending to get people to their TVs, last night’s coverage peaked in the 9:30-9:45 PM ET slot. That was just after Kim won her gold in the halfpipe competition, and going into the men’s alpine skiing.
I hate crying but I’ll give myself a pass for this one. Thank you everyone for the love! Stoked to bring home the gold pic.twitter.com/vxApf1lxbI
— Chloe Kim (@chloekimsnow) February 13, 2018
We’ll update with more Olympics coverage when the final numbers come in later today.
ABC, CBS and the CW knew they weren’t going to beat the Olympics last night but they certainly got in the arena. The uber-competition resulted in a mixed bag for The Bachelor (1.5/5) and Big Brother: Celebrity Edition (1.3/5). The top non-sporting show of Monday, the ABC romance reality series felt the Olympics chill with a 17% drop among adults 18-49 from last week. The Omarosa dominating Big Brother spinoff, on the other hand, was up a tenth from its February 11 airing.
Back for the first time since December 5, moved to a Monday, and with an appearance by Matt Ryan’s Constantine, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (0.5/2) was down by the same metric from its last original.
Fast affiliates for Monday’s Olympics are of course unreliable and will almost 100% see an adjustment upwards in the final numbers.
As we wait for those Olympics viewership results for Monday, here are the top metered markets for last night’s PyeongChang coverage:
1. Denver 25.7/43
2. Salt Lake City 23.0/39
3. Kansas City 21.1/32
4. Milwaukee 20.2/32
5. Minneapolis 19.6/35
6. Portland 18.6/33
7. Seattle 17.9/32
8. Sacramento 17.9/31
9. San Diego 17.9/31
10. Austin 17.8/31