Women received more coverage than men by a more than 5 to 1 margin on NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast February 22, 2018 and have dominated NBC’s coverage for the past five nights.
On the men’s side coverage of short track speed skating accounted for the bulk of the coverage – nearly 27 minutes – with just over a minute of men’s curling. The two other sports (ice hockey and snowboarding) were seen for 2 seconds each in a montage.
On the women’s side there was short track speed skating (approximately 19 minutes), ice hockey (more than 4 minutes), and figure skating (nearly 2 hours and 10 minutes) that led the coverage. Beyond those sports, there were three other sports that were each seen less than 10 seconds.
The pairs coverage was a follow up on the Russian mixed pairs curler who was disqualified for doping and therefore lost the pairs bronze medal.
The distribution of NBC’s Olympic coverage on Thursday night was 84.35% for women’s events, while men’s and mixed pair events received 15.46% and 0.19% of the broadcast respectively.
When mixed pair events are excluded, the percentages were the same: 84.52% for women and 15.48% for men.
After 15 nights, women have received more coverage than men on NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast. This is a reversal the trend for the first 10 nights of the Games, when men received more coverage than women by almost a 3 to 2 margin. In the past five days, however, women’s significantly outpaced men’s coverage by a more than 4 to 1 margin.
Based on information provided by NBC, it is predicted women will receive more primetime coverage than men in PyeongChang. Such an occurrence would be historic as women have never received more primetime airtime than men in a Winter Olympiad, dating back to 1994 when the studies began. Further, if there is just an equal split between the men’s and women’s coverage over the next three nights, the 55.23% of total primetime coverage would be the largest proportion of primetime coverage ever afforded female athletes in any Olympiad studied, summer or winter.
Regular updates about NBC’s coverage of men and women athletes will be posted throughout the 2018 Winter Games on FiveRingTV.com. A final report will be issued after the Games conclude.
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* The percentage of primetime devoted to men’s, women’s and mixed sex sports was calculated by a single researcher, utilizing a stopwatch and DVD time codes, measuring (to the millisecond) the total amount of time devoted to each event. Any time spent at the actual athletic site, on a profile about an athlete, promos about a specific athlete or sport, and host commentary about a specific sport or athlete was recorded. Split screens combining commercials and live coverage are included in the calculation, but commercial breaks are not included. The NBC broadcast network East Coast feed was used for this calculation. Olympic coverage on cable networks and live streaming was not included. Network overruns beyond 11:00pm up to the break for local news are included within this calculation.
Olympic Television: Broadcasting the Biggest Show on Earth contains a detailed 20-year examination of how male and female athletes have been covered within primetime Olympic broadcasts. The book also has analyses of how race/ethnicity and nationality impact Olympic coverage, interviews with NBC personnel about the content and production of Olympic broadcasts, and an overview of Olympic television history. Published by Routledge, it is available in hardcover, paperback and ebook formats at Amazon.com, the Routledge website, The Bookstore Plus, and other outlets.