First night ratings down; minimalist ceremony coverage

  • United States’ Nathan Chen performs in the men’s single short program team event at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Gangneung, South Korea, Friday, Feb. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

NEW YORK — Highlights from media coverage of the Pyeongchang Olympics:

RATINGS: An estimated 16 million people watched NBC’s coverage of the first night of the Olympics, down 20 percent from the 20 million who watched the similar first night in Sochi in 2014. NBC said a total of 17.2 million experienced the Olympics if viewers of the NBCSN cable network and digital users are added in, which would make the decrease 14 percent. Four years ago, NBC didn’t offer cable coverage or live streaming to compete with the network’s prime-time coverage. Peak viewership came during Nathan Chen’s skate during the team competition.

OPENER: NBC’s Olympic website offered the opening ceremony live, for those who wanted to enjoy a light show before breakfast (it started at 6 a.m. Eastern time in the U.S.). It was a minimalist experience, with full audio and pictures, but no announcers. As such, if you wanted to know who the dignitaries shaking hands in the stands were, or what a particular scene meant to symbolize, your guess was as good as anyone else’s. Some shots needed no narration, like the excitement on the faces of Korean athletes marching in with a unified team of athletes from the north and south.

WALKIE-TALKIE: Surfing the Olympics web site turned up a priceless video of Olympics officials trying to retrieve a dropped walkie-talkie that was sliding down a ski slope. It took three tries for a man on skis to stop it, all captured for posterity in slow motion.


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