Network sees 20% overall viewership growth

It’s a shame the Summer Olympics don’t happen more often. Nielsen Media Research reports that Telemundo’s 162-hour primetime coverage of the Beijing Games was viewed by 15.7 million, a 26% jump from its ’04 Athens Olympics cumulative aud of 12.5 million.

NBC U’s Telemundo, which has been kept firmly in second place by numero uno Univision (thanks to Univision’s telenovelas) has found a way to increase growth through sports.

Overall, NBC U’s Spanish- language web saw a 20% growth in viewership over last year.

“The response from our viewers clearly confirms that our award-winning sports division is delivering the most relevant and engaging Spanish-language Olympics coverage to U.S. Hispanics,” Telemundo prexy Don Browne says.

Telemundo’s ratings success extends to its coverage of the Aug. 20 “Rumbo al Mundial Mexico vs. Honduras” soccer match which delivered a record-busting 2 million viewers among the 18-49 demo, making it the highest-rated telecast ever in NTI history.

As Telemundo senior exec VP of Network Sports Jorge Hidalgo put it, the result “further solidifies Telemundo’s position as the ultimate destination for the best in sports programming for U.S. Hispanics.”

Nevertheless, Telemundo still lags behind market leader Univision, especially in the fiction department. Univision’s hit telenovela “Al Diablo con los Guapos” (To Hell With the Handsome Ones) lured an average daily aud of 4 million Monday through Friday during the first week of the Olympics (Aug. 8-14).

Univision claims that over the same period in 2008 vs. Telemundo’s Olympics coverage, Univision’s adult 18-49 delivery nearly quadrupled that of Telemundo.

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