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Phelps, Gymnastics Ignite NBCU’s Olympics Ratings

8/13/2008 12:41 PM Eastern

Olympic swimming sensation Michael Phelps’ latest gold medal and new world record and Wednesday night’s hotly contested battle between China and the United States for the women’s gymnastics gold medal delivered the highest night of ratings for NBCU through the first five days of the Beijing Summer Olympics.

Through the first five days, NBCU officials said its networks have attracted more than 168 million total viewers, nearly 15 million more than through the first five days of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens.

NBC's Beijing Olympic five-day average viewership is 31.3 million, almost five million more than Athens in 2004 (25.8 million). The national rating average of 17.8/31 is the best primetime rating through the first Tuesday for a non-U.S. Summer Olympics since Barcelona in 1992 (18.2/34) and is a 16% jump from Athens in 2004 (15.4/27).

“Obviously our multi-platform Olympic strategy is a success, but this record-breaking Olympic performance is proving that network television is more alive than ever,” Jeff Zucker, president and CEO of NBC Universal, said in a statement. “We are breaking records that are 20, 30 and nearly 50 years old—this is a fantastic triumph for network TV.”

In addition, traffic to NBCOlympics.com continues to set new records including more than 17.7 million video streams (up from a total of 2.2 million for the entire Athens games); more than 21.1 million unique visitors so far, up from 11.1 million for all of the 2004 games and page views of 373.9 million, up from a total of 229.9 million page views for the duration of the Athens games.

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