Beijing Olympics: Most-Watched TV Event of All Time?
Controversy creates attention; and never more so than than when it concerns the Olympic games. In the case of Beijing's 2008 Olympiad, that controversy has compelled the largest television audience of all time to tune into the games.
Consider, specifically, that the final day of the games "drew nearly all of China's 1.3 billion people to their televisions". That's a national audience that is 1/6th of the world's population.
Any way you slice it, that's a lot of eyeballs...and a lot of advertising dollars.
NBC Universal smashed yet another historic ratings benchmark: The Beijing Olympics is the most-watched U.S. television event of all time.
Through 16 days of coverage, 211 million viewers tuned in to the Olympics on NBC Universal's broadcast and cable outlets, according to NBC citing Nielsen Media Research.
That's 2 million more than watched the 1996 Atlanta Games, the previous all-time record-holder. And with Sunday's Games coverage and closing ceremony, NBC Universal expects to wrap up its 17-day run with gold-medal-worthy numbers. The company stands a strong chance of setting a new most-viewed benchmark thanks to its unprecedented dedication of 3,600 hours of Games coverage across a multitude of platforms.
In Beijing, the final day of the Games drew nearly all of China's 1.3 billion people to their televisions, making it "likely to be the most widely watched Games in Olympic history," according to International Olympics Committee president Jacques Rogge.
"We had more broadcast coverage to more people, in more places than ever," Rogge said in his closing press conference Sunday in the Chinese capital.
Over the past 16 days, images of China's transformed capital were beamed into primetime in the U.S., the world's second-largest television market in terms of number of viewers, by NBC, which paid $894 million for the exclusive U.S. broadcast rights, from which it says it has garnered more than $1 billion in advertising revenue.