NBC's Olympics Wins Monday Night

For NBC, things returned to normal at least for one night, as its Torino Olympics won the ratings battle for Monday night. Backed by some popular ice skating programming, NBC was tops with a Nielsen Media Research 6.8 rating among adult 18-49 viewers, according to preliminary Nielsen Media Research data. Fox was next with a 5.5, thanks to a strong performance from "24." ABC was next with a 4.0, and CBS was fourth with a 3.4. UPN was fifth with a 1.4; the WB pulled up the rear with a 0.9.

NBC claims that the statistic of 168 million total viewers--those that have watched some or all of the Winter Olympics through Feb 12--is pacing just one percent behind the Salt Lake City Winter Games' 171 million.

The network says the games have boosted ratings on its other networks--CNBC, MNBC, USA Network, and Bravo--which are also running some Olympic programming. More importantly, NBC claims that 5 million video streams have been seen through its associated Web sites and NBCOlympics.com.



But NBC's average viewer ratings--data that advertisers traditionally focus on--yields a different story. To date, NBC is averaging a 12.3/19 household rating, a 6.3 adults 18-49 rating, and 20.6 million viewers. These viewing categories are down anywhere from 20 percent to 30 percent versus that of the Salt Lake City Games.

Dick Ebersol, chairman of NBC Sports, has said that the games are still on track to ink some $50 million to $75 million in profit based on the network's $900 ad sales revenue Winter Olympic take. Ebersol also said the company expects to make a profit of $5 million to $6 million from NBCOlympics.com--the first time, he says, that the endeavor will be profitable.

Still, reports have suggested that NBC would need to give advertisers make good advertising units. Randy Falco, president/COO of NBC Universal Television Group--who is in charge of advertising sales activity--did not respond to e-mails concerning whether NBC would be giving advertisers additional commercial inventory.

NBC has taken some hits in this Olympics, as competing networks have decided to take on the major sporting event head on. Network shows such as ABC's "Grey's Anatomy" and Fox's "American Idol" have beaten the Olympics among key adult 18-49 viewers.

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