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Marit Bjørgen Sets The Record As The Most Decorated Winter Olympian of All Time … Will NBC Finally Give Her More Than A Few Seconds of Primetime?

Norwegian Cross Country Skier Marit Bjørgen scored her 14th Winter Olympic medal on Wednesday, thus becoming the most decorated Winter Olympian of all time.

But is that good enough for her to get significant coverage on NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast?

History suggests it’s not.

During the PyeongChang Games, NBC has decided Bjørgen’s three previous record setting accomplishments did not warrant substantial airtime on NBC’s primetime Olympic  broadcast.

When she became the most successful female Winter Olympian in history earlier in the PyeongChang Games, she received a very brief mention on NBC’s Saturday February 10, 2018 primetime broadcast at 10:28pm as part of 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, 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.

She 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.

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

Heading into tonight’s broadcast, the question remains: Will Marit Bjørgen – the most successful Winter Olympian of all time – finally receive the NBC primetime television coverage her accomplishments seemingly warrant?

Or will she continue to remain a largely invisible record setter?

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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 13: NBC’s Coverage Dedicated Almost Exclusively To Women; Total Clocktime Now Favors Women

In a telecast that contained more than two and half hours of athlete and sport coverage, women’s coverage outpaced the men’s by an astounding 83 to 1 margin on NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast on February 20, 2018

Men’s coverage included ice hockey, which clocked in at over a minute, and other sports that amounted to 15 seconds or less each. In total, men’s sports received 1 minute, 51 seconds of airtime.  On the women’s side alpine skiing, bobsled, figure skating, and short track speed skating that had significant amounts coverage. Women’s ice hockey had 26 seconds of coverage. There were no mixed pair events aired.

The distribution of NBC’s Olympic coverage on Tuesday night was 98.81% for women’s events, while men’s events received 1.19% of the broadcast. There were no mixed pair events aired.

NBC Night 13

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When mixed pair events are excluded, the percentages were the same 98.81% for women and 1.19% for men.

NBC Night 13 No Mixed

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After 13 nights, women have now 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.

Coverage of Women Eclipses Coverage of Men Through Day 13 of NBC’s Primetime Olympic Television Broadcast

Could Women Athletes Receive The Majority of Primetime Television Coverage for the First Time in a Winter Olympiad?

(February 21, 2018) – Coverage of women athletes is dominating the final week of NBC’s primetime broadcast* of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games, 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.

After featuring male athletes 3 hours and 40 minutes more than female athletes through the first 10 nights of primetime broadcast coverage, the shift toward female athletes and sports has been dramatic. What was a 15.6 percent gap favoring men will have been entirely eliminated in three subsequent nights of heavy women’s coverage. Moreover, sources inside NBC expect the trend to continue to the point that, for the first time since analyses began in 1994, women athletes are projected to receive the majority of the clocktime in a primetime Winter Olympic television broadcast.

American medal successes could be aiding the women’s coverage, as women have won the majority of Team USA’s 15 medals (8 women, 5 men, 2 mixed). The schedule also inherently moved toward highlighting female athletes and sports with, most notably, ladies figure skating occurring in the later days of the Games. Still, the finding—particularly in a Winter Olympiad—is noteworthy as the gender gap has been wide (sometimes more than 20%) in previous Winter Games. The Sochi Games marked the closest an American primetime broadcast had come to equal coverage (52.3% men; 47.7% women excluding paired/mixed events) and it now appears the coverage in PyeongChang could result in women receiving more airtime than men.

NBC had signaled a marketing plan focusing on women athletes, as three of the five Olympians they heavily promoted before the Games were women (Mikeala Shiffrin, Lindsey Vonn, Chloe Kim) and 53 percent of the athletes invited to NBC’s pre-Olympic West Hollywood promotional shoot were women. This promotion of female athletes and sports didn’t result in women receiving more coverage in the first 10 nights, but may be emerging now.

The authors will post regular updates tracking NBC’s coverage of men and women athletes throughout the 2018 Winter Games on 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 12: Women and Pairs Dominate NBC’s Coverage; Men’s Events Receive Little Airtime

Women received more coverage than men by a more than 4 to 1 margin on NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast February 19, 2018. Though women scored significantly more airtime than men, NBC dedicated the largest amount of its coverage to the ice dancing finals on Monday night, which featured mixed pairs.

On the men’s side, bobsled carried the majority of the coverage. All other men’s sports were on the screen for less than a minute each, with curling having 40 seconds and all others 5 seconds or less. On the women’s side, alpine skiing (11 1/2 minutes) and freestyle skiing (nearly 53 minutes in the halfpipe) drove the coverage. A few other women’s sports that had less 40 seconds or less each. Ice dancing accounted for the bulk of the pairs coverage, though there was an additional 18 seconds devoted to pairs curling via the doping scandal.

The distribution of NBC’s Olympic coverage on Monday night was 42.89% for women’s events, while men’s events received 9.46% of the broadcast. The mixed pair events accounted for the largest share, with 47.65% of the broadcast.

NBC Night 12

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When mixed pair events are excluded, the percentages were 81.93% for women and 18.07% for men.

NBC Night 12 No Mixed

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An interesting programming note is that on Monday night’s broadcast, all of NBC promos were for women’s sports. This suggests future primetime programming will continue to tilt towards covering women.

After 12 nights, men have received more coverage than women on NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast, but the gap closed even further last night. With ladies figure skating still on deck, the difference in coverage is likely to continue to shrink over the next several days.

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 11: Women Get More Coverage Than Men On NBC By An Almost 3 To 1 Margin

Women dominated NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast television coverage by almost a 3:1 margin on February 18, 2018.  Women scored a full hour of additional airtime compared to men on Sunday nights broadcast.

On the men’s side, bobsled carried the majority of the coverage and there was just over a minute of biathlon. All other men’s sports shown were on the screen for less than a minute each. On the women’s side alpine skiing, snowboarding, and speed skating drove the coverage. There was also just over a minute devoted to women’s ice hockey and a few other women’s sports had less than 15 seconds each. Pairs events also received significant coverage as it was the first night of the ice dancing competition.

The distribution of NBC’s Olympic coverage on Sunday night was 45.48% for women’s events, while men’s events received 17.65% of the broadcast. The mixed pair event accounted for 36.87% of the broadcast.

NBC NIght 11

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When mixed pair events are excluded, the percentages were 72.04% for women and 27.96% for men.

NBC NIght 11 Non Mixed

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After 11 nights, men have received more coverage than women on NBC’s primetime Olympic television broadcast, but the gap was closed some last night. With ladies figure skating still on deck, the gap is likely to shrink even further over the next several days.

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.

 

NBC’s Primetime Olympic Broadcast Features Male Athletes By A Significant Margin During The First 10 Days

Gap Widens in Comparison to 2014 Sochi Games

(February 18, 2018) – NBC’s primetime broadcast of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympic Games has highlighted men’s events significantly more than women’s events, 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.

Through the first ten nights, male athletes/sports received over three and a half hours more coverage than female athletes/sports. Men received 48.5% of the coverage while women received 32.9%; the remainder of the broadcast featured mixed-pair events (18.6%). When excluding pairs, men were shown more than women by almost a 3:2 margin (59.6%/40.4%).

The 15.6% gap is wider than what was found through the first half of the Sochi Games, where the gap was 10% before closing to 4% by the Closing Ceremonies. Still, in comparison to all other Winter Olympics examined before Sochi, the difference is smaller than the average gap found in the past two decades.

Sometimes the proportionality of medals won by male and female American athletes is a mitigating factor, as national coverage of the Olympics inevitably highlights home nation athletes doing well. Sochi featured a perfect balance as the 28 Team USA medals were split evenly by biological sex (13 men, 13 women, 2 mixed/pairs). The split is close again as American athletes have won 10 medals in PyeongChang and the split is again close (5 men, 4 women, 1 mixed [team figure skating]) after 10 days.

NBC’s primetime PyeongChang broadcast was altered substantially when multiple alpine skiing events and women’s snowboard slopestyle experienced weather postponements, making some nights lean and some nights congested with programming options, which could be a mitigating factor in these preliminary results. The authors will post regular updates tracking NBC’s coverage of men and women athletes throughout the 2018 Winter Games on FiveRingTV.com.

A complete table providing the exact amount of time NBC has devoted to each sport, with breakouts by athlete sex, during the first 10 days of its primetime Olympic broadcast has been posted here.

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.

Olympic Primetime Report Day 10: Men Dominate Coverage; Bjørgen Remains Almost Invisible

Men dominated NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast television coverage by more than a 3:1 margin on Saturday, February 17, 2018.

NBC focused on men’s alpine skiing, freestyle skiing, short track, ski jumping, and an interview with the American men’s figure skaters. There were a number of other men’s sports with one minute or less of coverage. On the women’s side skeleton, short track speed skating and two minutes of alpine skiing drove the coverage. All other women’s sports generated less than a minute each. The pairs content came from promos for the ice dancing competition that starts Sunday night.

The distribution of NBC’s Olympic coverage on Saturday night 77.60% for men’s events, while women’s events received 22.02% of the broadcast. The mixed pair event promo accounted for 0.38% of the broadcast.

NBC NIght 10

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When mixed pair events are excluded, the percentages were 77.90% for men and 22.10% for women.

NBC Night 10 No Mixed

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Marit Bjørgen added a gold medal to her collection, her 13th medal overall, tying the record held by fellow Norwegian, Ole Einar Bjørndalen, as the most decorated Winter Olympian in history and breaking the record for most Olympic medals by a cross country skier. The historic accomplishment, however, did not result in significant airtime from NBC. Her feat was mentioned, briefly, during the primetime broadcast as cross country skiing received 28 seconds of coverage. She was not, however, the subject of a feature, nor was she interviewed.

Such minimal coverage has been par for the course. When the Norwegian Cross Country became the most decorated female Winter Olympian in history earlier in the PyeongChang Games, her accomplishment received a very brief mention on NBC’s Saturday February 10, 2018 primetime broadcast. No feature. No interview.

On Thursday night, Bjørgen’s 12th medal was acknowledged on NBC’s primetime broadcast within a 27 second discussion of Norway’s dominance in cross country skiing. Bjørgen’s feats have historically received little primetime broadcast coverage in previous Olympiads, and this history making medal was no exception. She was not the subject of a feature, nor was she interviewed on Thursday night’s broadcast.

As such, Marit Bjørgen remains a largely invisible record setter on NBC’s primetime Olympic broadcast.

These figures will be updated to include a running total of percentages for men’s and women’s events soon.

Regular updates about NBC’s coverage of men and women athletes will be posted throughout the 2018 Winter Games on FiveRingTV.com. A mid-Olympic report, with complete sport-by-sport coverage breakdowns, will be issued on February 18.

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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.