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[02/21/06 - 12:00 AM]
Olympic Halo Effect: NBC's Torino Success Boosts Viewership Across All NBC Universal Platforms

[via press release from NBC]

OLYMPIC HALO EFFECT: NBC's TORINO SUCCESS BOOSTS VIEWERSHIP ACROSS ALL NBC UNIVERSAL PLATFORMS

Olympic Coverage Boosts NBCU Cable Viewership by 30%, NBC "Nightly News" & "Today" Increase Leads over Competition

NBCOlympics.com Serves 5.9 million Video Streams, More than 67,000 Hours of Video

TORINO, Italy -- February 21, 2006 -- 164 million viewers have watched all or part of the Torino Winter Olympics on the networks of NBC Universal through Sunday, only two percent behind this same point during the Salt Lake Games. NBCU's networks, NBC, USA, MSNBC, CNBC, NBC HD and Universal HD are providing more than 418 total hours of coverage -- including the most live coverage -- across the most platforms of any Winter Olympics in history of the XX Olympic Winter Games from Torino, Italy, Feb. 10-26. The unprecedented coverage has driven record numbers of viewers to NBCU's cable networks; it has also produced impressive gains in viewership and competitive advantage for "NBC Nightly News" and NBC News' "Today." NBCOlympics.com has had a record number of page views, surpassing its total number from the entirety of the Salt Lake Olympics with 11 days remaining in the Torino Games, and has already served 5 million video streams, more than 50,000 hours of video. The announcements were made today by Randy Falco, President and COO, NBC Universal Network Television Group.

"Our multi-platform strategy is working," said Falco. "The plan coming into the Games was to use all of our platforms to aggregate the largest possible audience. In a media landscape that is constantly fragmenting even further, we are reassembling the audience. We continue to expand our audience, reaching them everywhere they consume media, in different dayparts, on cable and online. We're in the viewership business - that's what we sell -- and we are succeeding in increasing our viewership across the platforms."

Final national ratings for Monday will be released later today, when they become available.

Here is a rundown of how Torino Winter Olympics "halo effect" benefited the various divisions and dayparts of NBC Universal:

VIEWERSHIP: 164 Million Viewers Through Week One

164 million total, unduplicated viewers have watched the Olympics on the networks of NBC Universal through the second Sunday of the Games, only two percent behind this same point during the Salt Lake Games (166 million).

NBC CABLE: More Viewers, Younger Viewers...Time Period Records

Through Sunday, Feb. 19, Olympics coverage on the cable networks of NBC Universal has reached 52.7 million average viewers, up 30 percent from February 2005 (40.4 million).

The Torino Games on the cable networks of NBCU are performing 64% above the February 2005 average, 62% above the prior four week time period average, and 52% above the pre-Olympic first quarter average in household ratings. Among total viewers, the Olympic cable average is performing 75% above the February 2005 average, 72% above the prior four week time period average, and 60% above the pre-Olympic first quarter average.

USA Network: Through Sunday, Feb. 19, the Olympics on USA Network are averaging 1,019,000 viewers, up 51 percent from the same time periods in Feb. 2005, and up 26 percent from the prior four week viewer delivery before the Games.

MSNBC: MSNBC's Sunday, Feb. 19 coverage of the U.S. men's curling team facing Great Britain delivered 1.597 million total viewers, its highest viewer delivery since Sunday, April 6, 2003, during the start of the Iraq war. MSNBC's Saturday, Feb. 18 coverage of the U.S. women's curling match vs. Italy delivered 1.258 million average viewers (0.81 HH rating) its highest rating and best viewer delivery in the 5-8 p.m. time slot since Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2004 (1.272 million viewers), and the best Saturday for that time period since coverage of the start of the Iraq war, April 5, 2003 (1.801 million viewers).

MSNBC's Olympic update with Tucker Carlson has improved the afternoon time period by 82% in household ratings (0.31 vs. 0.17) and 71% in viewer delivery compared to pre-Olympic first quarter (377,000 vs. 221,000). "Hardball with Chris Matthews" at 7 p.m. ET is up 56 percent compared to pre-Olympic first quarter (635,000 vs. 408,000) and "Countdown with Keith Olbermann" has grown by 28 percent (493,000 vs. 385,000).

The Olympics on MSNBC to date (through Thursday, Feb. 16) are attracting an audience with a median age of 51.2 years, 9.1 years younger than the February 2005 average, 9.4 years younger than the prior four week time period average, and 9.1 years younger than the 1Q06TD average.

CNBC: CNBC's curling coverage, 5-8 p.m. ET following "Closing Bell," is delivering 1,036,000 average viewers, 703 percent higher than its February 2005 average in the time period and 361 percent higher than its pre-Olympic first quarter levels.

OLYMPIC ZONE INCREASES RATINGS BY DOUBLE DIGITS:

Through Saturday, "Olympic Zone," a partnership between NBC Olympics and NBC affiliated stations, is showing double-digit ratings increases for many markets vs. February 2005 ratings. The markets showing the biggest increases are:
1. Portland, Ore. +100%
2. Phoenix, Ariz. +83%
3. Los Angeles, Calif. +66%
4. Las Vegas, Nev. +63%
5. Sacramento, Calif. +57%

OLYMPICS DRIVES NASCAR TO RECORD RATING:

Boosted by promotion during NBC's coverage of the Torino Games, Sunday's Daytona 500, the "Great American Race," attracted 37 million total, unduplicated viewers and drew a record 11.3 household rating and 23 share, the highest NASCAR rating in history and the most viewed Daytona 500 ever, according to fast national data from Nielsen Media Research. The 11.3/23 makes NBC's only three Daytona 500 broadcasts three of the top four highest rated and most viewed Daytona 500s ever (NBC 2002 and Fox 2005, 10.9; NBC 2004, 10.6).

"TODAY" SHOW: "Today" Delivers Most Viewers Since 2004 Election; Most Viewers for "Weekend Today" Since March 2003

For Monday, Feb. 13-Thursday, Feb. 16, "Today" is averaging 6.8 million total viewers, ahead of GMA by 1.5 million, based on time period data. This is "Today's" best delivery since the week of Nov. 1, 2004 (the 2004 Presidential election) and its best advantage over "GMA" since the week of Aug. 23, 2004 (the Athens Games).

During the first weekend of the Torino Games, Feb. 11-12, 2006, "Saturday Today" averaged 5.810 million viewers, more than the combined delivery of "Saturday GMA" (2.728 million) and the "CBS Saturday Early Show" (2.417 million viewers), and also topping weekday "GMA's" 5.341 million and the weekday "Early Show's" 2.865 million. The win marks "Saturday Today's" best delivery in viewers since March 29, 2003, and its best advantage over "Saturday GMA" ever. For the weekend, "Sunday Today" delivered 5.096 million viewers, topping "CBS Sunday Morning's" 5.063 million viewers. In homes, "Sunday Today" posted a 3.8/13 topping "CBS Sunday Morning's" 3.6/10. In the key demographics of adults 25-54, "Sunday Today" posted a 2.1 crushing "CBS Sunday Morning's" 1.7.

Fifty-four of 55 metered NBC affiliates improved their 6-7 a.m. local news over pre-Olympic first quarter 2006, with the ratings up an average of 14 percent.

"NIGHTLY NEWS": Sunday Edition of "Nightly" Delivers Most Viewers Ever

Powered by NBC's weekend coverage of the Torino Winter Olympics, on Saturday, Feb. 11, "Nightly News" attracted a staggering 12.514 million total viewers, 146% more (+7,425,000) than second place CBS' 5.089 million, and a 219% lead (+8,603, 000) over third place ABC's 3.911 million. This represents Saturday Nightly's best total viewer delivery since February 9, 2002 (Salt Lake City Olympics). On Sunday, February 12, "Nightly News'" numbers were even more impressive - averaging a whopping 16.117 million - the Sunday edition's best delivery ever. This represents a 231% lead (+11,253,00) over ABC's 4.864 million.

"ACCESS HOLLYWOOD": Up by 14% on NBC Affiliated Stations

NBC Universal's syndicated 30-minute newsmagazine "Access Hollywood," with co-host Billy Bush anchoring from Torino, airing preceding NBC's primetime coverage of the Torino Games, shows a ratings increase of 14% on NBC affiliated stations compared to pre-Olympic 1st quarter.

NBCOLYMPICS.COM: Surpasses Salt Lake by More Than 87 Million Page Views

NBCOlympics.com continues its success, with 232 million page views through Week One, surpassing its total from Salt Lake City by more than 87 million views with seven days still remaining in the Torino Games. The web site has served 5.9 million video streams, which equates to more than 67,000 hours of video watched through Saturday. With expanded "Rewind" video offerings that allow users to watch select events in their entirety, NBCOlympics.com users are able to re-watch the men's and women's snowboard cross and many other competitions online.





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