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Tokyo Olympics sees ratings lag as competition begins

Ratings for the Tokyo Olympics fell in the first night of competition. Yahoo Finance’s Kristin Myers and Zack Guzman discuss.

Video Transcript

KRISTIN MYERS: And the Olympics kicked off on Friday. And unfortunately for NBC, Zack, the ratings have been absolutely abysmal. I don't-- you just, we were just talking in the break about it. You said that you've been watching. You watched all of yesterday. I personally have not been watching. There's a couple of reasons why.

First and foremost, I'm not spending my weekends. Apparently you have, but I'm not spending my weekends now that the outside is reopened again, watching the Olympics, glued to my television screen. And I don't know about you, I haven't been too thrilled with the scheduling I've been seeing out right now. I'm like a very big swimming, track, gymnastics person. Sometimes maybe even diving. But yesterday, I somehow spent an inordinate amount of time watching-- I think it's speed kayaking. I honestly don't know what the event is, Zack, at all.

ZACK GUZMAN: Yeah.

KRISTIN MYERS: But there was people in kayaks and in a fake river somewhere in Tokyo, paddling through poles in the water. It just seemed so incredibly uninteresting. And then of course, there's all of the controversy around the Olympics right now.

ZACK GUZMAN: You've gotta-- you've gotta get better at using the online abilities here to watch whatever exactly you want to watch, Kristen. But yeah. It has been disappointing. I guess I'm, you know, I'm in a bit of a minority here when it comes to completely gluing myself to the competition. Perhaps because it's hot here in Texas, so you don't really want to go outside. But when you look at the numbers-- I mean, this is something we were talking going into the games for Comcast. It was going to be important to see if people did turn to Peacock to really keep them on the platform.

I suppose that is the good news. They did see a record number of people turning to their online digital viewing experiences. They had 648,000 viewers per minute in terms of the first competition day. That was a new record. So that, I guess, is working. But when you look at the overall ratings numbers on Friday, the opening ceremony, that was 17 million. That was down by about 36% from Rio-- which might not be surprising. Of course, as you're talking about there the controversy in Japan, we knew that the opening ceremonies we're going to be a little bit more measured in terms of what they were going to roll out. So I didn't watch that.

But the competition itself also coming in below what we saw in Rio as well as the Winter Games in 2018. So that's not necessarily what you want to see if you aren't Comcast, banking on this being a big-- you know, a big win for you in terms of ratings. That's not the case. But again, I think it more importantly comes down to how many people they can sign on to Peacock and maintain after we get through all of this. And let me just tell you Kristen, the other things-- I can't speak to speed kayaking here. But everything else delivered the drama. We're getting into the heart of it. Now we're going to be getting back into women's gymnastics. The men's team again tonight in prime time. There's a lot of good things coming down the pike.

KRISTIN MYERS: You know, we've seen so many companies really try to focus in on one thing to really get viewers to sign up. So I think of Game of Thrones for example, getting a lot of viewers to go over to HBO. And we see this a lot repeatedly with some of these streaming platforms. For Apple TV Plus, it could be the morning show. They're looking for that hook to get those viewers to come in and to sign up and also to stay.

However, I don't know if the Olympics is that thing that is going to get folks to want to, one, sign up for the platform, and then two, stay afterwards. Especially again, the Olympics were delayed by an entire year. There was a lot of will they, won't they prior to the Olympics. We weren't even sure if they were still going to be putting them on. We now don't even have spectators in the stands.

And then when it comes to the Olympics, Zack, I don't know about you, but I think a lot of folks here at home, they like to really watch a couple of athletes. And there's a lot of excitement that go around some of those athletes. In the past with swimming, it was Michael Phelps. Now even though I am a former swimmer and I know a lot of the members of the US team, not personally, but I keep up with some of them-- I don't know who is the one person that I'm watching and rooting for. And of course, gymnastics at least has Simone Biles.

But honestly right now, Zack, I don't think that there is a lot out there that is keeping folks excited. And unfortunately, as you're mentioning for Comcast, I don't know if there's anything that's enough to keep viewers out there interested and want to stay tuned after the Olympics are over. If they could even get them to sign up for the Olympics to begin with.