Women Receive More NBC Primetime Winter Olympic Broadcast Television Coverage Than Men For The First Time; 3rd Highest Proportion Of Coverage For Women Ever Documented

(February 26, 2018) NBC’s primetime broadcast coverage of women athletes during the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Games was historic, according to Andrew C. Billings (University of Alabama), James R. Angelini (University of Delaware), and Paul J. MacArthur (Utica College), authors of the book Olympic Television: Broadcasting the Biggest Show on Earth.

Women received more primetime broadcast television coverage than men for the first time in a Winter Olympiad, dating back to 1994 when the studies began. This event is particularly noteworthy as the gender gap has generally been wider – sometimes more than 20% – in the Winter Games than the Summer Games.

Women received 43.2% of the primetime coverage, compared to 39.6% for men and 17.2% for mixed pair events.

NBC Final 2018 Total

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When mixed pair events are excluded, women received 52.2% of the coverage compared to 47.8% for men.

NBC Final Total No Mixed

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The proportion of primetime coverage, when mixed pair events are excluded, is also the third highest ever for women in any Olympiad studied.

Primetime Coverage HIstory Women To Men

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During the first 10 nights of the Games, men received more coverage than women by almost a 3 to 2 margin.

Over the next three nights, women’s coverage overtook the men’s, erasing a 15.6 percent gap with three nights of heavy women’s programming. The heavy tilt towards women athletes, combined with information provided by NBC, led the authors to predict women would receive more primetime coverage than men in PyeongChang.

Days 11-15, NBC’s focused more on women by a more than 4 to 1 margin. This dramatic shift resulted in women receiving 55.23% of the total coverage when mixed pairs are excluded through the first 15 nights. More men’s coverage on nights 16 and 17 moved the number closer to 50%, with women regaining some ground on the last night.

The distribution of American Olympic medals likely played a role in the coverage as women won the majority of Team USA medals (12 women, 11 men, 2 pair).

The final result is women receiving the 3rd highest proportion of primetime coverage in any Olympiad studied, including the 1994 and 1998 Games carried by CBS.

Primetime Coverage History Chronological

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A complete table providing the exact amount of time NBC has devoted to each sport, with breakouts by athlete sex, during the its PyeongChange primetime Olympic broadcast is posted here.

Night by night breakouts are posted throughout FiveRingTV.com

Contact Information

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.

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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 Primetime Report Day 18: Women Lead Last Night Of NBC’s Broadcast Coverage

The final night of NBC’s 2018 Winter Olympic primetime television broadcast featured female athletes more than male athletes.

The February 25, 2018 coverage centered on PyeongChang highlights, with 14 different men’s events, 11 women’s events, and 3 mixed pairs events (figure skating, ice dancing, and curling).

The distribution of NBC’s Olympic coverage on Sunday night was 58.8% for women’s events, while men’s and mixed pair events received 30.7% and 10.5% of the broadcast respectively.

NBC NIght 18 Total

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When mixed pair events are excluded, the percentages were 65.7% for women and 34.3% for men.

NBC Night 18 No Mixed Total

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A 2018 Winter Games final report has been posted on FiveRingTV.com.

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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.

 

Marit Bjørgen Wins Yet Another Gold Medal. Will NBC Give The Most Successful Winter Olympian Real Primetime Coverage?

Marit Bjørgen’s gold medal performance in the 30km cross-country ski race on Sunday was yet another historic moment for the legendary Norwegian Olympian.

    • This is the 8th gold medal of her Olympic career, which ties the record held by Ole Einar Bjørndalen and Bjorn Daehlie for the most gold medals won by a Winter Olympian.
    • This is the 15th Olympic medal of her career, which augments her record as the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time. She leaves the 2018 Games with two more medals than the previous record holder, Ole Einar Bjørndalen.
    • The medal is her 5th of the PyeongChang Games (2 Gold, 1 Silver, 2 Bronze).  She is the most decorated Olympian of 2018.
    • This is the second time Bjørgen has walked away from the Winter Games with the most hardware, the first time being the 2010 Vancouver Games, where she also won 5 medals. The only other athlete to lead the Winter Olympic medal count twice is East German Speed Skater Karin Enke, who shared the top position with two other athletes in 1984 and seven other athletes in 1988. For both Vancouver and PyeongChang, Bjørgen sits atop the medal stand alone.
    • She is the only Winter Olympian to win 5 medals in two different Olympiads.

But will the most successful Olympian of the Winter Games get significant coverage on NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast tonight?

History suggests NBC will only mention her in passing.

NBC decided Bjørgen’s four previous record setting accomplishments in PyeongChang did not warrant substantial airtime on its primetime Olympic broadcast.

When she became the most successful female Winter Olympian in history, she received a very brief mention on NBC’s Saturday, February 10, 2018 primetime broadcast at 10:28pm as part of a larger discussion of a cross country event. She was not, however, the subject of a feature, nor was she interviewed.

When Bjørgen added a 12th medal to her record, which also tied her with Bjørn Dæhlie as the cross country skier with the most Olympic medals in history, she was acknowledged on NBC’s primetime broadcast within a 27 second discussion of Norway’s dominance in cross country skiing on the Thursday, February 15, 2018 primetime broadcast. Once again, she did not receive a feature, nor was she interviewed.

When she collected her 13th Winter Olympic medal on Saturday, tying the record held by Norwegian Biathlete, Ole Einar Bjørndalen, as the most decorated Winter Olympian in history, and breaking the record for most Olympic medals by a cross country skier, her feat was mentioned, briefly, during the primetime broadcast as cross country skiing received 28 seconds of coverage. No feature. No interview.

Bjørgen was also mentioned very briefly on Sunday, February 18, 2018 during the primetime broadcast within the context of Norway being the overall medals leader for the 2018 Games.

When she became the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time, with her 14th medal on Wednesday, Bjørgen played second fiddle to two American skiers on NBC’s primetime broadcast. Though the women’s team sprint received 14 minutes and 36 seconds of airtime – exponentially more airtime than women’s cross country has received in primetime during the previous five Winter Olympiads combined – NBC’s focus was on Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall, who became the first Americans ever to win gold in a cross country Olympic event. Their accomplishments marked only the second time Team USA won an Olympic medal in cross country and NBC emphasized Diggins and Randall, who were interviewed after the event. While Bjørgen was mentioned, and shown during the race, she was not interviewed, nor was there a feature about her record setting accomplishment. The Iron Lady’s presence on the broadcast was more to serve the narrative of American success than her own.

Bjørgen was largely invisible on NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast in previous Olympiads, where her achievements received little airtime. This year, she has received passing mentions on NBC’s primetime broadcast, but not the coverage her record setting accomplishments would suggest is warranted.

Heading into tonight’s broadcast, where NBC will recap the most compelling stories of the Games, the question that has existed for more than two weeks remains: Will Marit Bjørgen – the most successful Winter Olympian of all time – finally receive the NBC primetime television coverage her accomplishments deserve?

Or will the most successful athlete of the PyeongChang Games remain a footnote on NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast?

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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.

Olympic Primetime Report Day 17: Men Receive More Than Double The Women’s Coverage on NBC; Women Still Have Slight Lead Overall

NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast showed male athletes more than female athletes by approximately a 2.3 to 1 margin on February 24, 2018.

On the men’s side coverage of bobsled, curling, figure skating, and speed skating led the way Saturday, while six other men’s events were seen in montages or brief recaps of the previous day’s medal events.

On the women’s side alpine skiing (an interview with Lindsay Vonn), figure skating, and speed skating had the most airtime. Five other women’s events were seen in montages or brief recaps of the previous day’s medal events.

The pairs coverage pairs figure skating and ice dancing at the figure skating gala.

The distribution of NBC’s Olympic coverage on Saturday night was 61.23% for men’s events, while women’s and mixed pair events received 26.62% and 12.15% of the broadcast respectively.

Night 17

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When mixed pair events are excluded, the percentages were 69.70% for men and 30.30% for women.

Night 17 No Mixed

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After 17 nights, women have received more coverage than men on NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast, though the total amount of airtime devoted to women this Olympiad has decreased from a peak of 55.23% after Day 15 (after mixed pairs are excluded) to 51.87% after Day 17. During the first 10 nights of the Games, men received more coverage than women by almost a 3 to 2 margin. Days 11-15 marked a dramatic change, as NBC’s focused more on women by a more than 4 to 1 margin. This major shift resulted in women receiving 55.23% of the total coverage when mixed pairs are excluded, but that number has since moved closer to 50% territory.

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. This may, however, change based on how NBC programs Sunday night.

Regular updates about NBC’s coverage of men and women athletes are 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.

 

Olympic Primetime Report Day 16: Men More Receive More NBC Airtime Than Women At A Greater Than 4 To 1 Margin; Women Still Lead In Overall Coverage

In a night featuring men’s alpine skiing, bobsled, snowboard big air, and speed skating, male athletes dominated NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast by a more than 4 to 1 margin on February 23, 2018. Men’s hockey also had just over one minute of content and five other sports were featured less than one minute each, mostly in montages.

The only women’s sport to receive substantial coverage was was alpine skiing. There was also just over one minute devoted to women’s curling and six other women’s events were shown for 15 seconds or less each in various montages.

The pairs coverage consisted of brief glimpses of American pairs figure skating and ice dancing in montages.

The distribution of NBC’s Olympic coverage on Friday night was 81.25% for men’s events, while women’s and mixed pair events received 18.68% and 0.07% of the broadcast respectively.

NBC NIght 16

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When mixed pair events are excluded, the percentages were 81.31% for men and 18.69% for women.

NBC Night 16 No Mixed

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After 16 nights, women have received more coverage than men on NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast, though the margin decreased after Friday nights telecast. During the first 10 nights of the Games, men received more coverage than women by almost a 3 to 2 margin. During days 11-15, NBC’s focused more on women by a more than 4 to 1 margin. This dramatic shift resulted in women receiving 55.23% of the total coverage when mixed pairs are excluded. Friday’s broadcast brought the total number to 53.04% for women and 46.96% for men, excluding mixed pairs.

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. Whether this will actually happen depends entirely on how NBC programs the next two nights.

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.

 

Primetime Olympic Report Day 15: Women Dominate NBC’s Coverage For Five Nights In A Row; Women’s Coverage Has Potential To Be Historic

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.

NBC NIght 15

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When mixed pair events are excluded, the percentages were the same: 84.52% for women and 15.48% for men.

NBC NIght 15 No Mixed

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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.

NBC No Mixed Compare

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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.

Olympic Primetime Report Day 14: Women Get More NBC Coverage Than Men For The Fourth Night Straight; Marit Bjørgen Overshadowed Again

Women received more coverage than men by a 3 to 2 margin on NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast February 21, 2018.

On the men’s side, NBC focused on alpine skiing and freestyle skiing halfpipe with each sport clocking in more than 20 minutes. The only other men’s sport featured was bobsled at just 23 seconds when Mike Tirico commented on the impact of Steve Holcomb’s death on the USA bobsled team. On the women’s side alpine skiing, bobsled, and cross country skiing had significant amounts coverage. Beyond these, there were eight other sports that were seen anywhere from 1 second in a montage to just over 2 minutes.

The distribution of NBC’s Olympic coverage on Wednesday night was 60.03% for women’s events, while men’s events received 39.97% of the broadcast. There were no mixed pair events aired.

Night 14

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When mixed pair events are excluded, the percentages were the same: 60.03% for women and 39.97% for men.

Night 14 No Mixed

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Marit Bjørgen became the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time when she collected her 14th medal on Wednesday in the cross country team sprint. Throughout the PyeongChang Games, Bjørgen has received very little attention on NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast, despite a series of record setting accomplishments this Olympiad.  Wednesday was no exception. While the women’s team sprint received 14 minutes and 36 seconds of coverage, NBC’s focus was on Jessica Diggins and Kikkan Randall, who became the first Americans ever to win gold in a cross country Olympic event. Their accomplishments marked only the second time a Team USA athlete won an Olympic medal in cross country. As such, while NBC gave cross country skiing exponentially more coverage than it normally does in primetime – with significant time spent on the race – the emphasis was on Diggins and Randall, who were interviewed after the event. While Bjørgen was mentioned, and shown during the race, she was not interviewed, nor was there a feature on her record setting accomplishment.

After 14 nights, women have received more coverage than men on NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast. Based on information provided by NBC, it is predicted that this trend will continue and that women will likely end up with more primetime coverage than men in PyeongChang. Such an occurrence would be historic as women have never received more primetime coverage than men in a Winter Olympiad, dating back to 1994 when the studies began.

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.