Mirai Nagasu. Photo: Wikimedia CommonsViewership of NBC’s coverage of the first full week of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics was 16.9 percent less than the similar period for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, according to live-plus-same-day figures released by Nielsen Wednesday.
NBC’s all-Olympics prime-time schedule between Feb. 12 and Sunday averaged 17.62 million viewers, while the first full week of coverage of the 2014 Sochi Games averaged 21.21 million viewers.
The drop in viewership was cut to 7.8 percent when prime-time cable and digital viewing is included. What NBC has dubbed its Total Audience Delivery for its prime-time Olympics coverage averaged 19.56 million viewers for the week.
Viewership for most forms of programming has dropped in recent years, in part because of increased viewership of streaming programming.
The Olympics coverage gave NBC the largest margin for any network over its rivals during the official television season in the history of Nielsen’s People Meter system, outside of Super Bowl weeks. CBS was second, averaging 4.48 million, followed by ABC with 3.2 million and Fox with 1.65 million.
The People Meter system, which allows for measurement of individual viewers instead of just households, began in September 1987.
As is typical during the Winter Olympics, the Winter Olympics swept the top seven spots in the ratings, led by the Feb. 13 coverage featuring American Shaun White’s gold medal run in the halfpipe and the pairs short program figure skating, which averaged 20.531 million viewers.
The total audience delivery for the night was 22.6 million.
The week’s most-watched non-Olympics program was the CBS news magazine, “60 Minutes,” which averaged 7.511 million viewers.
The week’s most-watched cable program was TNT’s coverage of the NBA All-Star Game from Staples Center, which averaged 6.449 million viewers, 12th for the week and fifth among non-Olympics programs.
Viewership was down 1 percent from last year’s game, which averaged 6.513 million viewers and did not have to face competition from the Winter Olympics.
The NBA All-Star Game and NBA All-Star Saturday Night enabled TNT to end Fox News Channel’s four-week streak as the most-watched cable network, averaging 2.392 million viewers. Fox News Channel was second for the week, averaging 2.233 million.
The most-watched Spanish-language prime-time program was the Tuesday episode of the Univision telenovela “El Rico y Lazaro,” 53rd among broadcast programs, averaging 1.896 million viewers. Its overall ranking was not available.
Univision was the most-watched Spanish-language network for the 15th consecutive week, averaging 1.43 million viewers. Telemundo averaged 1.18 million viewers to finish second for the 15th consecutive week after four consecutive first-place finishes.
UniMas was third, averaging 710,000 viewers, followed by Estrella TV, which averaged 280,000 and Azteca America, which averaged 80,000.
ABC’s “World News Tonight with David Muir” was the most-watched network nightly newscast for the 12th consecutive week and 23rd of past 24, averaging 9.009 million viewers. This is the first time ABC has had the most- watched nightly newscast when a rival network aired the Olympics since the week of Aug. 3-7, 1992.
The “NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt” was second, averaging 8.447 million viewers.
The “CBS Evening News” averaged 6.666 million viewers. It has finished third each week since the week of Sept. 25-29, 2006.
The week’s 10 most-watched prime-time programs were NBC’s Tuesday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday, Thursday and Saturday Winter Olympics coverage; CBS’ “60 Minutes,” “The Big Bang Theory” and “Young Sheldon.”
—City News Service
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