Coverage of the first five days of the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games dominated television ratings in Europe, especially in the host country Italy, with impressive audiences recorded in other key markets around the world.
The USA, Japan and China all recorded impressive audience figures despite the time differences, while in non-traditional winter sports markets, such as Australia, ratings are strong.
In Italy, nine of the 10 top sports audiences on Saturday came from the Olympic Winter Games including figure skating (3.8 million viewers).
The gold medal winning performance from Italian racer Armin Zoeggeler in the Luge on Sunday attracted 5.5 million viewers.
In Germany, ZDF’s coverage of Speed Skating topped the ratings in Germany Wednesday with the Women’s team pursuit attracting an average audience of 5.1 million viewers.
And ARD in Germany enjoyed a day of market dominance on Sunday with significant broadcast audiences throughout the day. The women’s 3000m Speed Skating attracted 9.33 million viewers (33.4% share), Ski Jumping (normal hill) –attracted 9.14 million viewers (30.8% share) and the Men’s Luge recorded 8.3 million viewers (25% share).
Nearly half of all Americans
In the United States, up to and including Wednesday night, seven out of 10 U.S. television homes and 140 million total, unduplicated viewers have seen the Olympic Winter Games on NBC - nearly half of all Americans.
NBC's Wednesday night coverage drew an average of 17.9 million viewers, nearly doubling its average mid week ratings this season.
The Opening Ceremony attracted an audience of over 22.8 million viewers. This was the highest Friday prime time rating since NBC’s telecast of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games on August 20th 2004 averaged 23 million viewers.
Speed Skating in Japan
Television viewers in Asia have also largely been following the Winter Games on television despite the time difference. In Japan the Men’s 500m speed skating attracted 10.83 million viewers on Monday whilst 8.93 million viewers tuned in to see the Women’s Mogul Finals on Saturday. Meanwhile China has recorded the highest ratings of any previous Olympic Winter Games.
Over one-third of the Australian TV Audience have tuned into Olympic Winter Games coverage.