— Published 10 February 2022

NBC hits rock bottom

The trend is confirmed with each new edition: the follow-up to the Olympic Games is shifting unmistakably from traditional television to digital platforms. Beijing 2022 is no exception. In fact, the event is going even further. The IOC announced on Thursday 10 February that the Beijing Games have already attracted over 87 million followers worldwide on social networks. With a spectacular surge on two of them, TikTok and its Chinese version, Douyin. The IOC’s official platform, for its part, has already recorded 45 million connections, not including Chinese internet users, which is more than for the entire PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games. Conversely, the impact of the Beijing Games remains low on television, especially in the United States. NBC, the exclusive broadcaster for the US market, had only 16 million viewers for the Opening Ceremony, its lowest ever for a Winter Games (28.3 million viewers watched the opening of the PyeongChang 2018 Games, 31 million for the Sochi 2014 Games). The rest of the event did not reverse this trend. The first four evenings of competition saw historically low audiences, with an average of just under 13 million viewers. On Tuesday 8 February, only 8 million Americans watched the Beijing Games in prime time on NBC. The reasons given by the channel were the health crisis, the lack of public and atmosphere at the venues, the diplomatic boycott decided by the United States, and the 13-hour time difference between Beijing and the American East Coast.