NBCU says Olympics racked up 5.5B streaming minutes

NBCUniversal is claiming the 2021 Tokyo Olympics are NBC Sports Digital’s most streamed Olympics ever after logging 5.5 billion streaming minutes across digital and social platforms.

That figure includes more than 4.3 billion minutes of Tokyo Olympics content streamed across NBCOlympics.com, the NBC Sports app and Peacock—which NBCU said was up 22% from the 2016 Rio Games and up 95% from 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics—and more than 1.2 billion minutes across NBC Sports social platforms.

NBC Sports Digital said it recorded an average minute audience of 477,000 viewers in primetime.

Peacock, NBCU’s ad-supported streaming service, got in on the Olympics coverage for the first time this year and the company said it helped the platform register its best two weeks of usage yet. Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBCUniversal Television and Streaming, said the Tokyo Olympics led to “sharply increasing signups, usage and awareness of Peacock.”

RELATED: Comcast draws Peacock and Flex into its deep Olympics coverage

Comcast and NBCUniversal made streaming a significant priority for the Olympics coverage this year. That included Peacock and Flex, Comcast’s streaming platform and device for broadband-only subscribers, along with partnerships with Roku, Verizon Fios and NCTC members.

Those efforts likely helped with some streaming bright spots early in the games. According to Conviva, a company that specializes in streaming and social media data and analytics, streaming activity for the 2021 Tokyo opening ceremony spiked at 279% over the 2018 opening ceremony. Along with growth in time spent streaming, the company also recorded quality gains—35% fewer start failures, 7% less buffering and 1% higher bitrate than average—for this year’s festivities.

But overall, Olympics viewership was down sharply compared to the 2016 event. The broadcaster said that 120 million Americans consumed more than 120 billion total minutes of Olympics coverage resulting in 15.1 million average TV viewers. That total is down more than 40% from the average 26.7 million viewers who tuned in for Rio Games in 2016.