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Olympic Blitz Pays Off, Says Ebersol - Broadcasting & Cable

Olympic Blitz Pays Off, Says Ebersol

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The final Olympics numbers are in and they look good for NBC.

According to the Peacock's massaging of the Nielsen numbers for the 17 days of coverage through closing ceremonies Sunday night, "the networks of NBC" drew 203 million viewers, 69 of those to the four cable nets.

That beats Sydney's total viewers number by 10%, though viewers also had three times as much opportunity to watch, given that NBC tripled its coverage from Sydney to a whopping 1,200-plus hours and added some new platforms in coverage that spanned MSNBC, CNBC, USA, Bravo, NBC, Telemundo and NBC's digital stations.

Prime time viewing was up 14% over Sydney.

NBC's Sunday telecast of the Closing Ceremony averaged 19.6 million viewers, up 17% from 16.7 million for the closing ceremonies in Sydney.

The games were the most-watched non-U.S. Olympics ever, topping Seoul's 194 million in 1988.

NBC Universal Sports & Olympics Chairman Dick Ebersol said be believed the massive coverage had helped build a future audience for the games, which NBC has locked up until 2012. "The multiple platform strategy worked exactly the way we hoped it would.  We gave the viewers what they wanted:  more coverage of more sports, elevating interest in the Olympics and driving millions to our primetime coverage in the process." The network calculated that  Bravo and CNBC's prime time lead-in coverage delivered 54% of their viewers to NBC .

"By having so much coverage available throughout the day," said Ebersol, "a new generation of Olympic junkies was born this summer."

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