How Many People Are Watching the Olympics? NBC Attempts a Tricky Head Count.

“Advertisers now recognize that a viewer is a viewer,” said Dan Lovinger, NBC Sports’s executive in charge of sales. He eschewed the idea that there is a fundamental difference between television and digital viewers. “What we are doing now is adding it all together and treating a viewer as a viewer.”

For decades Nielsen produced easy-to-compare measurements of how many people watched a program and what percentage of American households they represented. But an exploding array of technologies — first TiVo and other digital video recorders, and now streaming players like Rokus, computers and phones — has fragmented viewing across dozens of different platforms, a large factor in the broad decline in television…

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