Olympics Viewers Older, But Audience Grows Smaller

Broadcast license fees aren’t the only thing that has risen over the last six Winter Olympics: The median age of TV viewers watching the event has climbed as well.

Over the last six Winter Olympics, the median age has climbed nearly 10 years -- from 43.4 years old during the Albertville Olympics in 1992 on CBS to 53.2 years old in Vancouver in 2010 when NBC aired the games. CBS spent $243 million for the rights of the 1992 Winter Olympics; NBC paid $820 million for Vancouver’s 2010 event.

The average total audience in Vancouver in 2010 was 24.4 million -- the second-lowest result since 1992. The low of 20.2 million occurred Turin in 2006. Of the more recent Winter games, Lillehammer in 1994, aired on CBS, pulled in the best results of the last six Winter Olympics -- 43.2 million.

The male-female composition the games continues to be mostly female -- just like with most prime time TV.  In 1992, female viewers comprised 56.1% of the audience; in 1994 and 1998, it was 58.7%; Salt Lake City games in 2002 tallied a 57%; Turin was 57.3%; and Vancouver, 56%.

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