Ratings and viewership for the 2012 London Olympics hit a low point Thursday night, but still held up well compared to previous years.
Tape delayed primetime coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics earned a 13.6 final rating and 22.9 million viewers on NBC Thursday night, down 1% in ratings and up 2% in viewership compared to Beijing in 2008 (13.8, 22.438M), and down 1% and up 6%, respectively, compared to Athens in 2004 (13.8, 21.515M).
The comparable night of the most recent Olympics — the 2010 Winter Olympics from Vancouver — also drew a 13.6 and 22.9 million viewers. This is the first time that this year’s Olympics has been on par with Vancouver.
Thursday’s telecast ranks as easily the lowest rated and least-viewed primetime window of the Olympics. The previous low was a 15.8 and 26.6 million on Monday night.
Overall, primetime coverage of the Olympics averaged an 18.0 rating and 31.9 million viewers on NBC through Thursday — up 7% in ratings and 12% in viewership from 2008 (16.8, 28.6M), and up 15% and 24%, respectively, from 2004 (15.6, 25.7M).
This marks the highest rated Olympics through the second Thursday since Salt Lake City in 2002 (19.0), and the highest rated Summer Olympics since Atlanta in 1996 (22.4).
Excluding U.S.-based Olympics, the 18.0 average is the highest since Lillehammer in 1994 (27.3), and the highest for the Summer Olympics since Montreal in 1976.
Compared to 2008, ratings have increased for eleven of the fourteen primetime windows, and viewership has increased for thirteen.
(Thursday’s numbers and 14-night averages from NBC Universal Media Village)