NBC Gets Its Lowest Olympics Ratings Since Saturday, but Men’s Basketball Boosts NBCSN

As livestreaming tops 1 billion minutes Wednesday

Wednesday night's Rio Olympics action featured a victory for U.S. beach volleyball stars Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross, another gold medal for legendary Japanese gymnast Kohei Uchimura, and a gold in the 200-meter freestyle relay for Katie Ledecky and the U.S. women. But the action couldn't match Tuesday night's heroics, and the Nielsen ratings reflect that.

The NBC broadcast network delivered 26.4 million total prime-time viewers on Wednesday, down 14 percent from the same night during the London Olympics in 2012 and down 21 percent from Tuesday night. Prime time delivered a 7.6 rating in the 18-49 demo, down 23 percent from the same night at London and down 24 percent from Tuesday night, as well as a 15.1 household rating, which is off by 16 percent from the same night as London in 2012 and 20 percent from Tuesday.

The Total Audience Delivery, or TAD, for Wednesday's prime-time coverage averaged 28.6 million viewers, which is still off by 7 percent from the same night as London in 2012. TAD measures broader Rio Olympics consumption by calculating average viewing minutes across broadcast, cable and digital.

They're the lowest figures since NBC Olympics' Saturday evening coverage. 

It was a positive evening for NBCSN, however. The network's live coverage—featuring the U.S. men's basketball win over Australia and Brazil's defeat of Denmark in men's soccer—averaged 1.9 million total viewers. That's a Rio-best for the network.

Salt Lake City (24.4) was once again the top local market for NBC Olympics evening coverage, followed by Denver (22.3), Indianapolis (20.0), St. Louis (19.4) and Columbus (19.2).

NBC Olympics' livestreaming for Rio 2016 topped 1 billion minutes Wednesday, an Olympics record. Streaming of Olympics events more than tripled over the first five days of competition compared to the same time at the 2012 Olympics.

The network is hoping for improved prime-time ratings for Thursday night's action, which is highlighted by a Michael Phelps-Ryan Lochte face-off for the final time in Olympics competition and Simone Biles taking her talents to the women's gymnastics individual all-around competition.