NBC Olympics: Rio Tops 1 Billion Streaming Minutes

RIO DE JANEIRO—On Wednesday, NBC Olympics’ live streaming for Rio 2016 topped 1 billion minutes (1.05 billion)—the first time the threshold has ever been crossed for an Olympics, the group said. The 1.05 billion minutes of live streaming via NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app is up 232 percent from the equivalent day in London. This milestone comes one day after NBCOlympics’ live streaming for the Rio Olympics surpassed that for the entire London Games.

The Total Audience Delivery for Wednesday’s primetime coverage averaged a 16.5 household rating with 28.6 million viewers.

NBC Olympics’ Total Audience Delivery measures broader Rio Olympics consumption by calculating average minute viewing across broadcast, cable and digital.

The 2016 Rio Olympics is the first in U.S. media history with primetime Olympic coverage on channels other than the primary broadcast network. It is also the first time that the broadcast network coverage, including primetime, has been streamed simultaneously on digital platforms.

NBC Olympics coverage on other channels and digital streaming has lifted primetime viewership by at least 7 percent each night (chart below).


Total Audience Delivery

NBC-only viewership

TAD Lift

Sat. 8/6

23.5 million

20.6 million

14 percent

Sun. 8/7

31.8 million

29.8 million

7 percent

Mon. 8/8

31.5 million

28.9 million

9 percent

Tues. 8/9

36.1 million

33.4 million

8 percent

Wed. 8/10

28.6 million

26.4 million

8 percent

NBC said that after six days, the NBC-only average primetime viewership (28.2 million viewers) and household rating (15.5) have respective 286 percent and 210 percent advantages over ABC, CBS and Fox combined – the second-largest Games advantage on record (behind only the London Olympics), according to national data from Nielsen. (NOTE: The household rating for the full nightly show through six days is a 15.6; the 15.5 referenced above is for coverage in the 8-11 p.m. primetime window which is used for comparative purposes.)

Among Adults 18-49, NBC’s six-night 8.3 primetime rating in the demographic tops by 419 percent the other broadcast networks combined (1.6 on ABC, CBS and Fox) – the largest advantage in the first six days of any Olympics (on record).

Last night’s NBC-only Rio Olympics coverage (8-11:12 p.m. ET/PT) averaged 26.4 million viewers. The telecast, highlighted by Katie Ledecky and the U.S. women capturing gold in the 200m freestyle relay final; Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte competing in the men’s 200m IM semifinal; Australia’s Kyle Chalmers outdueling Team USA’s Nathan Adrian in the men’s 100m free final; and American Josh Prenot earning a silver medal in the men’s 200 breaststroke final, posted a 15.1/27 household rating.

NBCSN on Wednesday night delivered its best primetime numbers of the Rio Olympics. The network’s live coverage – featuring the second half of the U.S. men’s basketball team’s 10-point win over Australia and the Brazil-Denmark men’s soccer match—averaged 1.9 million viewers.

Additional NBC Olympics metrics:

  • The U.S. Men’s Basketball team’s win over Australia averaged 3.4 million viewers on NBCSN – topping each of the team’s games on the network at the London Olympics. The Brazil-Denmark Men’s Soccer match, which immediately followed basketball, averaged 1.3 million viewers to rank as the most-watched Men’s Soccer match of the Rio Games.
  • CNBC averaged 734,000 viewers from 5-8 p.m. ET – up 63 percent from the comparable day in London. Coverage featured rugby, beach volleyball, fencing, and table tennis.
  • MSNBC averaged 487,000 viewers for its coverage of water polo, beach volleyball, shooting, fencing and soccer from noon-5 p.m. ET – up 41 percent from last year.
  • USA Network’s coverage of beach volleyball, fencing, rugby, and basketball averaged 521,000 viewers from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. ET.

Through the first five nights of competition, Total Audience Delivery for Rio 2016 and the 2012 London Olympics:



Rio 2016

London 2012*

Rio 2016

London 2012*

1st Sat.

23.5 million

28.7 million

13.0 rating

15.8 rating

1st Sun.

31.8 million

36.0 million

17.3 rating

19.8 rating

1st Mon.

31.5 million

31.6 million

18.1 rating

18.0 rating

1st Tues.

36.1 million

38.7 million

20.5 rating

21.8 rating

1st Wed.

28.6 million

30.8 million

16.5 rating

17.9 rating

*NOTE: The 2012 London Olympics had no simultaneous live streaming and no competing primetime Olympic cable coverage.


1. Salt Lake City


2. Denver


3. Indianapolis


4. St. Louis


5. Columbus


6. Minneapolis


7. Austin


8. Baltimore


9. Cincinnati


T10. Houston


T10. Kansas City


Get the latest updates from Rio at TV Technology’s Olympics social media hub, “Live @ the Rio Olympics.”