NBCU Cable Nets Basking in Olympic Glow

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More than 56 million viewers tuned into NBCU’s cable networks through the first five days of the Beijing Summer Olympics, a 33% increase from the first five days of the 2004 games in Athens.

And through the first six days of coverage, NBC has reached 174 million total viewers, 30.8 million average viewers and a rating of 17.6 rating/30 share, network officials said.

The national rating average of 17.6/30 is the best primetime rating through the first Wednesday for a non-U.S. Summer Olympics since Barcelona in 1992 (18.3/34) and is a 12 percent jump from Athens in 2004 (15.7/27).

Wednesday night’s coverage garnered 72 million total viewers in primetime and 27.7 million average viewers, just off of the comparable night in Athens (28.4) when Paul Hamm took the controversial gold medal in the Men's Gymnastics All-Around. The night earned a 16.7 rating/28 share, just a three percent decline (17.3/29).

Coverage on USA Network (2 a.m. – 2 p.m. ET) is averaging more than 1 million viewers (1.044) up 23 percent compared to the Athens games in 2004 and a gain of 42 percent above comparable time periods in 2007.

MSNBC (5 a.m. – 5 p.m. ET) is averaging 649,000 viewers, up 27 percent compared with Athens in 2004 and more than double comparable time periods in 2007 (+133 percent). Meanwhile, CNBC (5:00-8:00 p.m. ET.) is averaging 638,000 viewers, a gain of six percent compared with Athens and 168 percent above comparable time periods in 2007 (+259 percent).

And Oxygen, in its first year as a home for Olympics coverage, is averaging 713,000 viewers for its 6-8 p.m. ET coverage—its best ever performance in the time period and a gain of 236 percent over the comparable time periods in 2007.

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