Tokyo Olympics sees ratings lag as competition begins
The odds for the Tokyo Olympics fell on the first night of the competition. Kristin Myers and Zack Guzman from Yahoo Finance discuss.
KRISTIN MYERS: And the Olympics started on Friday. And unfortunately the ratings for NBC, Zack, were absolutely miserable. Not me-- just you, we were just talking about this during recess. You said you watched. You saw it all yesterday. Personally, I haven't looked. There are a couple of reasons for this.
First and foremost, I don't spend my weekends. Apparently you have, but I don't spend my weekends now that the Outside is open again watching the Olympics on my TV screen. And I don't know about you, I wasn't that excited about the scheduling I'm looking through right now. I am like a very great swim, lane, gymnastics person. Sometimes even diving. But yesterday I kind of spent too much time watching - I think it's speed kayaking. I honestly don't even know what the event is, Zack.
ZACK GUZMAN: Yes.
KRISTIN MYERS: But there were people in kayaks and in a fake river somewhere in Tokyo paddling through poles in the water. It just seemed so incredibly uninteresting. And then of course there is the whole controversy surrounding the Olympic Games.
ZACK GUZMAN: You have to-- you have to get better at using the online skills here to see exactly what you want to see, Kristen. But yes. It was disappointing. I guess I am, you know, I'm in the minority here when it comes to completely engaging with the competition. Maybe because it's so hot here in Texas you don't really want to go outside. But if you look at the numbers - I mean, that's something we talked about in the Comcast games. It would be important to see if people actually turn to Peacock to really keep them on the platform.
I think that's the good news. They saw a record number of people turning to their online digital experiences. They had 648,000 viewers per minute based on the first day of the competition. That was a new record. So, I think this works. But if you look at the total ratings on Friday, the opening ceremony, that was 17 million. That was about 36% less than in Rio - which may not be surprising. Of course, while you are talking about the controversy in Japan, we knew that the opening ceremonies are judged a bit more by what they would roll out. So I didn't look at this.
But the competition itself is also below what we saw in Rio and at the 2018 Winter Games. So that's not necessarily what you want to see if you're not Comcast, if you trust this is a big one - you know, a big win for you in terms of ratings. That's not the case. But again, I think it's even more important how many people can sign them up with Peacock and care for them after we've been through all of this. And let me just tell you, Kristen, the other things ... I can't say anything about speed kayaking here. But everything else provided the drama. We go to the heart of the matter. Now we're going to get back into women's gymnastics. The men's team is back at prime time this evening. A lot of good things come out on the market.
KRISTIN MYERS: You know, we've seen so many companies try to focus on one thing to really get viewers to sign up. I am thinking, for example, of Game of Thrones, which is making a lot of viewers switch to HBO. And we see that over and over again with some of these streaming platforms. For Apple TV Plus, it could be the morning show. They look for that hook to get those viewers to come in and sign up and stay too.
However, I don't know if the Olympics is what will make people sign up for the platform and then secondly, stay. The Olympic Games in particular were postponed for a whole year. You had a lot of will, wasn't it before the Olympics. We weren't even sure if they'd still wear them. We don't even have spectators in the stands now.
And then, when it comes to the Olympics, Zack, I don't know about you, but I think a lot of people here at home like to see some athletes. And there's a lot of excitement surrounding some of these athletes. In the past when swimming it was Michael Phelps. While I'm a former swimmer and I know a lot of the US team members, not personally, but I keep up with some of them - I don't know who the only person I'm watching is and I'm rooted for. And of course, at least Simone Biles has gymnastics.
But honestly, Zack, I don't think there's a lot out there that upsets people. And unfortunately, as you mention for Comcast, I don't know if there is anything that is enough to keep viewers interested and keep track of what's going on after the Olympics are over. If they could even get her to sign up for the Olympics.
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