Norway’s nationwide commercial television channel TV2, which won the rights to broadcast the Winter Olympics for the first time this year, reported strong ratings when it was all over. Nine Olympic events attracted more than a million viewers, a lot in a country of just 5 million people.
“I’m glad and proud that TV2, in its 22nd year of operation, was able to broadcast such a large sports event as the Olympics,” TV2 chief Alf Hildrum told news bureau NTB this week, following the close of of the Winter Games on Sunday night. When the ratings figures came in later, they showed that 1,284,000 viewers watched the men’s biathlon relay on Saturday on average, for example, while more than 1.4 million tuned in at one point. Fully 785,000 watched the men’s 50-kilometer race early Sunday morning, and the women’s 30k race on Saturday pulled in 1.3 million viewers at its peak.
“The Winter Games have been a major boost for us, with a steep learning curve,” Hildrum said. “It’s been demanding and fun.” He said he was also “very satisfied” over how Norwegian viewers, who were unaccustomed to having to put up with commercial interruptions during the Olympics for the first time, accepted and tackled TV2 as Norway’s Olympic broadcaster. State broadcaster NRK had always aired the Olympics before, commercial-free.
There were viewer complaints, though, and newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that TV2 didn’t manage to fill all its commercial slots during the two-week Olympic run. Now TV2 is gearing up to air the World Cup in football from Brazil this summer. The Norwegian national football team didn’t qualify for it, but TV2 is still expecting strong viewer interest in Norway.