UPDATED, 2:02 PM: Heading into tonight’s primetime coverage with Lindsey Vonn’s XXIII Winter Games debut and men’s figure skating, NBC could sure use a win – at least when it comes to viewership.
With 19.3 million watching on NBC, NBC Sports Network and streaming in total audience delivery, last night’s Olympics barely was basically even with Valentine’s Day’s all-time low for the 2018 games so far. Cutting into any minor celebration the Comcast-owned net might get out of being up 0.5%, all those Day 6 official competition platforms put together last night was still down over 15% from the first Thursday of Sochi 2014 – which was only seen on NBC in primetime.
Putting up NBC 2018 against the broadcast-only coverage of February 13, 2014’s XXII Winter Games and things start to really sting. Last night’s primetime featuring Mikaela Shiffrin and Nathan Chen in PyeongChang dropped a hard 29% in sets of eyeballs.
In smaller numbers but still significant for NBCUniversal, NBCSN had its best night of the 2018 Games so far with 2.75 million tuning in.
PREVIOUSLY, 7:25 AM: Team USA has a total of eight medals so far at the XXIII Winter Games, but another gold in slalom for Mikaela Shiffrin was not destined to be one of them last night in NBC’s primetime coverage, as the network hit a new 2018 low in the ratings.
Like Sochi 2014 winner Shiffrin, skater Nathan Chen and to some extent snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis’ efforts, Day 6 of official competition at the PyeongChang Games had all the elements of victory, but not the execution.
With a 13.0/22 in metered markets on combined coverage on NBC and NBC Sports Network, the Comcast-owned outlet was far off the podium on the first Thursday of the 2018 Winter Olympics. Not only is this a low for these Games, which have slipped repeatedly in the ratings, but last night’s numbers also took a face plant from both Sochi 2014 and Vancouver 2010.
If you take the NBC/NBCSN not-so-happy meal of last night and compare it to the February 13, 2014 first Thursday of Sochi, the 2018 Olympics are down 10% in the early ratings. Four years ago, the Winter Olympics primetime show was only seen on NBC proper (as was the case in 2010). So, trim it to just NBC 2018 vs. NBC 2014 and last night fell 22% from the equivalent night out of Russia, and 32% from the Vancouver Winter Olympics eight years ago.
When all the numbers came in, the first Thursday of Sochi 2014 snared just over 22 million viewers.
There’s a lot more Olympics out of South Korea to come before this is all over February 25, but day-in and day-out, even with all of NBC’s combos and streaming stats, a trend is emerging — and its downward. It is also worth nothing that the Sochi Olympics ended up being the lowest-rated ever for NBC, with an average 5.5 rating among adults 18-49 and 21.39 million viewers.
Last night’s primetime Olympics coverage was up from the previous Thursday’s coverage on NBC, but those pre-Opening Ceremony events February 8 were a soft launch and not counted as official competition days.
The only competition that the Olympics and NBC had last night was from ABC who put The Bachelor: Winter Games (0.7/3) and a 20/20 (0.8/3) on the slopes. Not that it was a lot of competition as the second airing of the reality romance spinoff was down a tenth from its February 13 debut. On the other hand, the special Roseanne: The Return edition of the news mag series was up 100% among adults 18-49 over its Tuesday show to match a season high.
We will officially count more of the numbers from last night’s Olympics when we get them later today.