Avoids CBS's Nagano blues

TOKYO — Japanese pubcaster NHK avoided the Nagano Winter Olympics blues and scored huge ratings for its coverage of the games. Local heroes, live coverage of Olympics drama and extensive reporting from all events helped NHK draw record ratings for the Winter Olympics.

According to ratings agency Video Research, the opening and closing ceremonies each drew better than 30% ratings of households in the Tokyo area. Nine events scored ratings of more than 20% for live events including women’s figure skating and events in which Japanese athletes were strong such as speed skating and ski jumping.

There were 126 different segments of Olympics programming broadcasts on commercial TV and NHK during the games and more than half of the segments received ratings topping 10%, the agency said.

NHK also broadcast 300 hours of Olympics programming on its satellite channel, but the ratings agency did not release numbers for the satellite broadcasts.

Japanese commercial news programming also got an Olympics bounce as company employees tuned in to catch interviews on the evening news programs with Japanese athletes who had won medals earlier in the day.

Unlike CBS, NHK’s programming consisted of showing the sporting events in their entirety in live programming. Highlights from each day’s events were then repackaged for a two- to three-hour Olympics broadcast later in the evening.

NHK, which has the technology to broadcast in Japanese and a foreign language, drew some criticism for not having bilingual broadcasts for the tens of thousands of foreign guests who visited Japan for the games.

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