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Cape Breton Post - - TV LISTING -

VAN­COU­VER (CP) — Two in three Cana­di­ans watched part of Fri­day’s Olympic open­ing cer­e­mony, mak­ing for record TV rat­ings ac­cord­ing to host broad­caster CTV.

The net­work said Satur­day the 3 1/2-hour show at B.C. Place Sta­dium drew a record av­er­age au­di­ence of 13.3 mil­lion, eras­ing the pre­vi­ous record of 10.3 mil­lion for the 2002 gold medal hockey game at the Salt Lake City Olympics.

CTV said 23 mil­lion view­ers, or two in ev­ery three Cana­di­ans (69 per cent), saw some part of the show, which aired live on 11 net­works in English, French and sev­eral abo­rig­i­nal lan­guages.

The rat­ings sys­tem in Canada has changed in re­cent months, but the con­sor­tium said the change did not af­fect the Van­cou­ver-Salt Lake com­par­i­son. The peak view­er­ship came at the mo­ment the Cana­dian team en­tered B.C. Place Sta­dium, when 15.6 mil­lion Cana­di­ans — nearly half the coun­try — were watch­ing, the group said.

The Olympics are be­ing broad­cast by CTV, Canada’s largest pri­vate broad­caster, and Rogers Me­dia, a unit of ca­ble TV, cell­phone and me­dia gi­ant Rogers Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Inc.

The two part­ners paid US$93 mil­lion sev­eral years ago for the rights to broad­cast the Van­cou­ver Games in Canada by out­bid­ding the CBC, which had broad­cast the five pre­vi­ous Olympics.

Olympic TV rat­ings were also strong in the United States, where The Nielsen Co. said an es­ti­mated 32.6 mil­lion peo­ple watched the open­ing cer­e­mony on NBC, the U.S. rights holder.

That was up 48 per cent from the 22.2 mil­lion who watched the first night of the 2006 Win­ter Games in Turin, Italy.

NBC, which ex­pects to lose money on the Van­cou­ver Olympics, paid US$820 mil­lion for the U.S broad­cast rights.

“ There is no doubt the re­ces­sion has had an im­pact on sales in all av­enues, in­clud­ing tele­vi­sion,” con­sor­tium pres­i­dent Keith Pel­ley said in a state­ment pro­vided to The As­so­ci­ated Press on Satur­day.

“ We are off to a strong start with record-break­ing audiences and look to build on that mo­men­tum,” he said. “ We will con­tinue sell­ing right through to the end of the games.”

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