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NBCUniversal's coverage of the Olympics in Beijing was a ratings disaster.

With the 2022 Olympics, NBC receives the lowest Olympic ratings ever. Winter Olympics in Beijing

The Beijing Winter Games received the lowest ratings in Olympic history since NBC Universal began airing the tournament decades ago.

The broadcast is largely thought to have resulted in a loss for NBC, which holds the rights to broadcast the events in the United States. NBC declined to comment on whether it lost money on the telecast of the Beijing Olympics.

The Winter Olympics, which aired on Comcast’s NBCU’s broadcast, cable, and streaming platforms, drew an average of 11.4 million primetime viewers over a two-and-a-half-week period, the company announced Tuesday. This represented a 42 per cent reduction from the disastrously low-rated Pyeongchang Olympics in 2018, which had previously recorded the lowest viewership.

“This was very likely the most challenging Olympics in history,” NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua told The Wall Street Journal. He said that marketers were given more commercial time to compensate for the small audience. Advertisers were “made whole over the whole Olympics,” Bevacqua added.

The Olympics had its biggest primetime ratings ever on Feb. 13 with 21.2 million average viewers, trailing only NBC’s coverage of Super Bowl LVI, which drew 112 million people.

The opening day in Beijing drew approximately 16 million viewers, which was 43 per cent fewer than the Pyeongchang Games in 2018.

Despite the low ratings, NBC said the Olympics were the most-watched primetime series since the Tokyo Olympics last year, excluding the NFL.

NBC also praised Peacock, its streaming service, which it saw as a bright point for the firm. Unlike during the Summer Games, Peacock showed the whole Olympics — live events and replays — for its $9.99 paying members.

The business reported that 4.3 billion minutes of Olympic content were streamed across its platforms, lead by Peacock, which also had its highest 18-day usage span since its introduction in 2020.

“It was a home run for Peacock,” Bevacqua remarked. “In the interval between Tokyo and Beijing, we significantly enhanced our strategy.”

Despite declining viewership, the network remains optimistic about the Games. NBC will pay around $1.3 billion every Olympics through 2032 to broadcast the Games in the United States.

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