Viewers From Mid-Sized Markets Flock to NBC's Olympics Telecasts


Marketers who want to reach consumers in Salt Lake City
should be advertising heavily in NBC's London Games coverage.

So should marketers who want to reach prospective buyers of
their goods and services in San Diego, Kansas City, Milwaukee, Denver,
Columbus, Norfolk, Richmond, Indianapolis, Austin, Nashville and Fort Myers.

Notice that the country's largest designated market areas-New
York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Dallas, Detroit and
Houston among them-are nowhere on the above list.

NBC puts out myriad viewership data during the two weeks
that it airs its Olympics coverage, but it is always fascinating to see that a
larger percentage of viewers in smaller markets, or at least ones beyond the largest
mega-sized markets, are the ones that faithfully tune in night after night to
watch the competition. It doesn't mean that more people overall are watching in
those cities than in the top 10 DMAs, it just means a larger percentage of
those watching the Games in each of those cities.

That's been the case so far, during the first four nights of
London Games coverage. And with few exceptions, it mirrors the ratings tale
from the 2008 Beijing Games.

Salt Lake City averaged a 23.1 rating and 40 share for the
duration of the 2008 Summer Games telecasts, and through four nights so far,
the market once again sits atop the numbers list, averaging a 26.2 rating
and 47 share. Salt Lake City, by the way, is the 33rd largest DMA, according to
Nielsen data.

San Diego was fifth among the metered markets for the
Beijing telecasts with a 21.3 rating and a 37 share, and through four
nights this time, it is second to Salt Lake City, with a 24.6 rating and a
44 share.

Other DMAs that were in the top 10 for having the
highest-rated metered market audiences in 2008 that are again in the top 10 now
are Denver, Indianapolis and Columbus. Denver was tied with Salt Lake City in
2008, and through four days is now tied for fourth among the
metered markets, averaging a 24.4 rating and a 46 share. Indianapolis, which
was fourth during the Beijing Games, is seventh so far, averaging a 23.2 rating
and a 40 share. And Columbus, Ohio, ninth in 2008, is currently sixth,
averaging a 23.9 rating and a 40 share.

Interestingly enough, Washington, D.C. ranked second among
the metered markets in ratings for the Opening Ceremony of the London Games on
Friday night. The D.C. market was right behind Salt Lake City, averaging a 26.8/48.
It's conceivable that a lot of D.C. politicians and federal government
officials were watching First Lady Michelle Obama lead the American delegation,
with the expected Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his wife Ann
in attendance. Whatever the explanation, by day four, the Washington, D.C.
viewership dropped to 12th place with a 22.1/40, still solid but
down by a chunk. Of course, if this were a political poll, that would be a
mighty big cause for concern.

Here are the four-day metered market averages
for the 20 DMAs with the highest ratings.



1.  Salt Lake City


T2.  San Diego


T2.  Kansas City


T4.  Milwaukee


T4.  Denver


6. Columbus


7. Indianapolis


T8. Norfolk, Va.


T8. Richmond, Va.


10. West Palm Beach, Fla.


11. Ft. Myers, Fla.


T12. Washington, D.C.


T12. Oklahoma City


14. Austin


15. St. Louis


T16. Sacramento


T16. Nashville


18. Albuquerque


 T19. Portland, Ore.


 T19. Minneapolis


Among the top 20 in Olympic Games viewership so far, only
Washington, D.C. is among the top 10 largest DMAs based on TV viewership, and
only three-Minneapolis (15), Denver (17) and Sacramento (20)-rank between 10-20
on the top DMAs list.

In addition to Salt Lake City being the 33rd largest DMA,
St. Louis is 21st; Portland, 22nd; Indianapolis, 26th;
San Diego, 28th; Nashville, 29th; Kansas City, 31st; Columbus,
32th; Milwaukee, 34th; West Palm Beach, 38th;
Norfolk, 43rd; Oklahoma City, 44th; Albuquerque, 45th;
Austin, 47th; Richmond, 57th; and Fort Meyers, 62nd.

One other piece of metered market data that NBC released,
using Nielsen data, was viewership by time zone through the first three days of
telecasts. The Mountain time zone was averaging a 22.0 rating and 39 share. The
Pacific time zone was averaging a 21.2 rating and a 40 share. The Central time
zone was averaging a 20.3 rating and a 35 share, while the Eastern time zone
was averaging a 19.8 rating and a 34 share.

It's interesting to note that with the many online outcries
and complaints about NBC's tape-delayed televising of events in primetime, the
Pacific time zone, with-at eight hours-the largest time difference between the
U.S. and London, had a higher rating through the first three days than did the Eastern
time zone with its five-hour time difference. So much for the complainers
trying to imply that fewer people on the West Coast would be watching.