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NBC Scores Big in Vancouver

NBC Scores Big in Vancouver

[ Tue, 2010-02-23 18:33 ]
TV crew films Lindsey Vonn
Many viewers are complaining about NBC’s coverage of the Olympics: too much figure skating, no live events, dumb commentary, and not enough skiing. But one thing’s for sure—people are watching

Last week, NBC dominated the ratings, taking the top eight spots. Snowboarder Shaun White’s gold medal run captured 29.4 million viewers, almost double that of the perennial leader, American Idol on FOX.  Research from NBC suggests that half of all Americans watched some of the games last week. From February 14–21, NBC averaged 26.3 million viewers a night.  That’s a big increase from the games in Torino, which attracted around 20 million viewers a day.

Although NBC has maintained a near monopoly over Olympic coverage for the past 20 years, it’s not really paying off. Despite the high ratings, covering the Olympics is a costly affair and advertising revenue has dropped dramatically due to the sluggish economy. Forecasters at NBC estimate the network will lose around $200 million this year on the Olympics alone. That doesn’t leave much in the coffers to cover Conan O’Brien’s $30 million severance package.