Ratings Surge for Olympics, Thanks to Live Events, Web

The Vancouver Olympics are winning back viewers, helping NBC and hurting programming on rival networks, USA Today reports. Through 12 nights of the 17-day event, the Winter Games are averaging 25.2 million viewers in prime time. That’s up 20% from 2006 (25% if you average all 17 days of Torino), when NBC set an 18-year Olympics low, though still well below Salt Lake City in 2002.
Behind the ratings glory, according to analysts and network executives: an increase in live events from the Pacific time zone venue; weaker counterprogramming; and an increase in social networking that has led more viewers to chatter about the Games. Those who do tend to watch more of the coverage, NBC says.