After reaching a 33-year low viewership for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremonies on July 23, NBC has announced that its primetime ratings are up 26%, with its streaming services reaching record-breaking viewership numbers.
The company, which owns the rights to broadcast the Games within the United States through 2032, recorded a total of 15.3 million viewers on Saturday.
Peacock, NBC’s streaming service, saw a record-breaking number of viewers, recording its most-consumed Saturday ever. NBC Sports Digital also set the record for the most streamed Olympics primetime show ever on Saturday. Overall, viewers have streamed over 371 million total minutes worth of Olympics content on Peacock, up 21% from the Rio Olympic Games.
With the recent trend in streaming services, this spike was relatively expected. In the last 3 months of 2020, streaming service usage grew by 44% amid the coronavirus pandemic, with over 55% of American households utilizing at least one streaming service.
Due to the time difference between Japan and the United States, there is also a significant increase in the number of late-night viewers. On Saturday night, NBC’s Primetime Plus show (midnight-2 a.m.) averaged a total number of approximately 4.4 million viewers, up 13% from Rio. Likewise, there has also been a 24% increase in the number of morning viewers.
Swimming is one of the major programs that is shown during those times, with prelims occurring in the morning hours and finals at night. In fact, the International Olympics Committee adjusted the swimming schedule to account for the large US-based audience, with prelims occurring at night in Tokyo, and finals swimming in the morning.