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NBC's Rio Coverage Dims on Wednesday

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Now six days into the Olympics, NBC says it is meeting most if not all its business and viewing goals, including improved ad sales activity.

The "total audience delivery" figure is a statistic NBC hurriedly invented when it saw sharp declines in its traditional ratings for the first couple of nights of the Rio de Janeiro Games.

Without the star power of the USA women's gymnastics team, NBC's coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics was down sharply in the fifth night of competition from Rio de Janeiro. NBC could be forced to offer advertisers free commercial time on fall programming like Sunday Night Football if doesn't have enough Olympics commercials time set aside, RBC Capital Markets media analyst Steven Cahall wrote in a note Thursday.

Tuesday also had the largest prime-time viewership overall since the games started on August 8 with 36.1 million viewers across broadcast, cable and digital.

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A string of American triumphs in the pool and a near-flawless turn by USA women's gymnastics team on Tuesday night powered NBC to its strongest ratings of the 2016 Rio Summer Games, as some 33.4 million viewers tuned in for the network's primetime Olympics program. "Cable and digital are continuing to grow at a fast rate".

About 31.5 million people tuned in on TV and online to watch the Olympics Monday night, about the same number as those who watched only on TV four years ago, the network said Tuesday in a statement.

More than 300 brands have bought national ad time across NBC, NBCSN, Bravo, USA Network, CNBC and MSNBC, with the automotive category alone accounting for nearly 20% of all Olympics TV spending.

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