Networks Scramble as Woke Olympics Ratings Crash: NBC Blames 'Bad Luck'
'Negativity' and 'no spectators' blamed for collapsed viewing figures for Tokyo Olympics
TV networks are scrambling to come up with excuses to explain the appalling viewer ratings for this year's Tokyo Olympics, all while refusing to admit the obvious: Get woke, go broke.
On Thursday, NBC Universal came up with a list of non-woke explanations for the ratings collapse.
The network's CEO Jeff Shell attributed record-low viewer ratings to a host of factors as he sought to square the poor viewer response against his company's expectations.
“We had a little bit of bad luck… there was a drumbeat of negativity… we got moved a year… no spectators,” Shell pleaded, Reuters reported.
Shell’s desperate comments come as it becomes increasingly apparent that the TV audience has collapsed in several major markets around the world since 2016.
Viewership numbers from the opening ceremony and first few nights of events indicate the Tokyo Games is currently the least-watched Olympics in recent history across Europe and especially in the U.S. where viewer numbers are in freefall.
NBC’s four-hour-long broadcast of the opening ceremony last Friday alone was the smallest U.S. television audience for the event in the past 33 years, according to Breitbart.
As Breitbart reported, just 16.7 million viewers bothered to tune in.
That audience declined 36 percent from 2016 when 26.5 million people watched the Rio de Janeiro Games opener, and 58 percent from 2012, when 40.7 million people watched the London ceremony.
Keen Olympics watchers would have to go back to the opening ceremony for the 1988 Seoul Games, which attracted 22.7 million TV viewers, to see numbers like it.
In a call with analysts, NBC's Shell attributed the record-low ratings to several factors.
"We had a little bit of bad luck, there was a drumbeat of negativity, we got moved a year, no spectators," he said.
"And that has resulted in a little bit of linear ratings being probably less than we expected.”
NBC Universal paid $7.65 billion to extend its U.S. broadcast rights for the Olympics through 2032.
It is not just U.S. viewers who are not waking up to the woke Olympics.
Reuters outlines that over the first three days of the games, 769,000 viewers tuned in on one of France’s three public TV channels, not including Discovery Inc-owned broadcaster Eurosport, according to data from audience measurement company Mediametrie.
That viewership represents a 17.4 percent decline from the same period during 2016’s Rio Games and a sharp 74 percent drop from the 2012 London Games.
The BBC meanwhile reported a peak live audience of 2.3 million, and 944,000 online streams, for the opening ceremony on Friday, which started around lunchtime UK time.
That’s a 39.4 percent decline from the BBC’s peak live audience for the Rio opening ceremony and a 61 percent decline from the BBC’s peak live audience for the 2008 Beijing opener.
Only two markets are reporting solid viewer numbers, according to Reuters.
In sports-mad Australia, 2.7 million viewers watched the opening ceremony nationally on Seven Network, the company said in a press release, up 20 percent from the TV audience for the Rio opener.
In the host country of Japan, where the majority of the public has opposed hosting the games during the coronavirus pandemic, the opening ceremony was watched by more than 70 million people and was the most-watched event in the last 10 years, Yiannis Exarchos, CEO of Olympic Broadcasting Services, said on Monday.