By Karolos Grohmann
PYEONGCHANG, South Korea (Reuters) – Broadcasters around the world have beamed 14 percent more hours of programming from the Pyeongchang winter Olympics compared to the Sochi Games in Russia four years ago, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Tuesday.
The IOC’s director of television and marketing, Timo Lumme, said preliminary data showed overall output from the Games in South Korea was bigger than at any previous winter Olympics with an average of 130 hours of programming per rights-holding broadcaster.
“The amount of content on digital platforms is also up and expected to be double that aired on television, so two parts digital to one part television. Over five billion people will have access to TV coverage of the Pyeongchang Games,” Lumme told reporters.
Early estimates showed some three billion people will have watched some coverage of the Olympics that started on Feb. 9 and end on Sunday, he said.
The Pyeongchang Games are the first of three consecutive Olympics in Asia, with Tokyo hosting the 2020 summer edition and Beijing staging the 2022 winter Olympics.
Broadcasters in these three major Asian markets were “consistently outperforming their average share of viewing”.
In the United State, Lumme said NBC’s coverage during prime time was bigger than all other competitor networks combined.
“Often it is even doubling the combined audience of other network,” he said.
U.S. rights holder NBC is the IOC’s largest single source of revenue, having paid more than $7.75 billion for the rights to broadcast the Olympic Games to U.S. audiences, up until 2032.
U.S. national advertising sales for the Olympics in Pyeongchang have surpassed $900 million, a record for the Winter Games, NBC Sports Group, a unit of Comcast Corp. had said prior to the start of the Games.
NBC is producing more than 2,400 hours of coverage over 18 days from Pyeongchang.
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)