Another Five-Ringed Circus Is Behind Us...

By: Jon Nelson

Sunday, February 25, 2018

For anyone that has taken a look at everything going on in PyeongChang, you’ve seen a lot (sorry… adding emphasis here “A LOT”) of television coverage the last few weeks.

American viewers can, if you have the right cable provider, check out multiple on-demand channels (sport dependent and specific) that can be promoted in a grander sense as a larger package...

If you want to watch curling you missed, it’s available on-demand...

If you missed a medal match or event, it’s available on-demand...

It’s a way to bring in other (and multiple) revenue streams for a partnership, but does it actually work? 

That’s the question posed to NBC Universal- the US provider of the Games- at a substantial cost to them as they will win a major “sweeps” period for their market affiliates. Dominic Patten, over at Deadline.com laid it all out in a short-term analysis: (deadline.com)

“...the overall reality is that the 2018 Winter Games are going to be the lowest rated ever with a drop of nearly 10% from the previous low of Sochi. Hell, Saturday to Saturday, last night was down 15% in metered market ratings from February 17, which was a low at the time.”

But, if you ask the head of NBC Sports Mark Lazarus, he was pleased on having to put something together simultaneously on two networks (NBC and NBCSN) and looked at it from another angle...

“In today’s media environment, to average approximately 20 million viewers over 18 nights – which is essentially the number of hours for a full season of three primetime shows – is a tremendous accomplishment,” said NBC Broadcasting chair Mark Lazurus(sic) today of the record low viewership for an Olympics, which has dropped more than 2 million on average from the NBC-only primetime shown Sochi Games. “When compared to the competition, we were more dominant than any Winter Games ever…”

When you bring in $940-million in ad revenue, it’s a reason to smile…

But Patten also notes that there were bundled ad deals with the last NFL game of the year and the action in Korea. Ahiza Garcia, over at CNN Money, (money.cnn.com/2018/02/24/media/nbc-olympics-ratings-12-billion-rights/) also has some news that every network is taking a peek at going forward with all these big ticket items:

Viewership for the current Olympics on NBC is down 24% compared to Sochi among viewers aged 18-49, the age demographic most coveted by advertisers. (NBC notes that the demo is actually down only 15% when including viewers from both NBC and NBC Sports Network, which is airing prime time coverage of the Winter Games for the first time.)

NBC has spent a little over US$12-billion since 2011 on the Games, but they say that the action in Korea is at a profit as was the last summer action in Rio- to the tune of a US$150-million profit. But NBC, with what was mentioned off the top, seems to have found a way to stem any kind of tide when it comes to the over-the-air relationships with their viewers- regardless of demographic.

The network admits that almost twice the number of people have streamed some kind of event in the last few weeks compared to the individuals that did it back in Sochi.

The deal signed with the International Olympic Committee included streaming rights- and that’s huge. With viewing availabilities going to phones, iPads, on-demand options, and other mobile devices it gives rights holders the idea of having a three dimensional saturation of product.

More options present the notion that they’re thinking about not just over-the-air and are thinking “socially” for lack of a better word...

What will REALLY be interesting are the non-over-the-air hours of viewing put into the press releases about the coverage of everything in PyeongChang and how that compares to events past. 

Is NBC thinking well enough laterally or do they still have work to do when it comes to the future- especially if their home country isn’t doing all that well in the medal count...

That’s the next question at The Peacock...