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London Olympics opening ceremony lowest since OzTam ratings began

Nine’s Saturday morning broadcast of the opening ceremony of the London Olympics averaged 1.7m viewers according to preliminary overnight ratings. The numbers are the lowest Australian audience for an Olympic opening ceremony since the current OzTam system began in 1999.

Although a good result for a Saturday morning, the ratings were significantly down on previous Olympic opening ceremonies and the first to fail to garner an average metro audience above 2m.

Seven’s coverage of the 2008 Beijing Olympics opening rated 2.824m; while its 2004 Athens Olympics ceremony rated 483,000 for its 3.30am-7.30am broadcast and 2.304m on its afternoon rebroadcast.

In 2000, the Sydney Olympics opening ceremony rated 6.5m on Seven.

London 2012 is the first summer Olympics in recent years that Nine has the rights to broadcast.

The ceremony aired from just after 5.30am in the east. However, peak viewing for the show is likely to have risen above 2m by breakfast time. The preliminary ratings put a rerun of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air on Nine at 2.025m – however, Nine’s coverage overran, so this tiemslot was also occupied with the aftermath of the ceremony. (Update: Nine says its audience peaked at 2.667m)

Nine’s afternoon repeat of the ceremony rated 1.313m, while its early evening coverage rated 1.968m. The late night segment average 1.155m.

Nine argues that if you add together the viewing audiences of the live broadcast and the repeat, the net audience is larger than the live and repeated audience of Seven’s Athens event.

In a sign that there is a potential audience available for non-Olympic coverage, Seven’s Weekend Sunrise rated 259,000 despite the competition of the opening ceremony.

Seven’s top rating program on Saturday was Seven news which rated 1.013m. Ten’s was Ten News At Five with 455,000.

The Olympic broadcast did not even win the ratings week – the series final of Ten’s Masterchef averaged 2.2m on Wednesday night.

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