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How Disastrous Were The Ratings For The Chinese Olympics? The Numbers Are Staggering

My only awareness of what happened in the first two weeks of February was that either China or actual online interest in the Olympics suppressed our overnight traffic. I was not alone in my disinterest. The 2022 Olympics, from a network standpoint, were a complete failure.

The games reached an average combined audience of 11.4 million people in prime time on NBC, the USA cable network and Peacock streaming service, the network said. That’s the lowest-ever American audience for any Olympics, and down 42% from the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018.

For NBC alone, the prime time telecasts reached an average of 9.3 million viewers, or 48% down from South Korea, the Nielsen company said.

Our traffic bounced back the day “The Games” ended, and I watched not one minute of them in real-time of pre-recorded. I didn’t care. But NBC thinks…

Several factors contributed to the audience’s waning interest, he said. They included the lack of crowds because of the pandemic and “very harsh protocols in China” that kept family and friends out of the stands and limited the size of the network’s coverage teams in Beijing.

“We had 1,600 people in Stamford and 600 people in Beijing,” Bevacqua said, referring to the size of the network’s crew in Connecticut. “Normally that would be flipped for us.”

They also pointed to the time difference, but every moment of this thing was available to stream after the fact (as far as I can tell), and if people cared, they’d have made time for that on their own schedule. Yes, being in China was probably a factor, but not entirely how NBC framed it. As Legal Insurrection reports, the AP had no illusions about the problem. “These Olympics were a disaster for the network: a buzz-free, hermetically-sealed event in an authoritarian country a half-day’s time zone away…”

Were any lessons learned? Will NBC, looking at the level of control from the Chinese Communist Party, make any notes in the margins? Like, how they’ve been propagandizing this sort of centralized rule in America as an ideal way to manage a nation and what that would mean for NBC and what they do?

Or will they continue to blame COVID when totalitarianism is the problem?

Steve is a long-time New Hampshire resident, blogger, and a member of the Board of directors of The 603 Alliance. He is the Managing Editor and co-owner of GraniteGrok.com, a former board member of the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire, and a past contributor to the Franklin Center for Public Policy.

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