NBC: We’re close to an Olympic sellout
Has sold $950 million in ads, $100 million more than Beijing
July 3, 2012
With just three and half weeks to go before the Summer Olympics begin, NBC is not quite sold out of advertising.
The network, which paid $1.2 billion for rights to the 2012 Games in London, says it has sold $950 million in ads so far, about $100 million more than it sold for the 2008 Beijing Games.
Media buyers say they expect NBC to sell another $50 million in ads before the two-week event is over, with more inventory available than the last Games, thanks to increased TV and digital coverage.
The network is close to a sellout but has set a small amount of inventory aside for advertisers coming in at the last minute.
Local stations will sell an additional $175 million for the Olympics, according to analysts' projections.
But despite the strong sales, these Games will likely be another money-loser for the network. In addition to its rights fees, NBC is paying an estimated $150 million to produce the Games.
That could lead to losses of between $100 million and $200 million, marking the second straight Games where it will lose money.
The network lost $223 million on the 2010 Vancouver Games.
This year NBC will show more hours of coverage than ever before, 5,535 hours, including digital, broadcast and cable.
That's 2,000 more than it showed just four years ago, and the huge availability of inventory may actually have hurt pricing for these Games, according to Miller Tabak & Co. analyst David Joyce.
Because there is so much ad time available, he says, NBC has not been able to sell it at a high rate, despite solid demand from advertisers.
The network has added dozens of new advertisers for these Games, along with a number of familiar ones, including McDonald's, General Motors, AT&T, Coca-Cola and Visa.
The network has also sold between $5.5 million and $6.5 million in advertising to Barack Obama's presidential campaign, which also advertised heavily in the 2008 Olympics.
Obama's campaign reportedly bought $1 million in ads for the opening ceremonies, which drew 34.2 million total viewers four years ago, the biggest opening ever for an Olympics not held in the U.S., according to Nielsen.
NBC does not expect to match the heady ratings it achieved during the Beijing Games, however. One major reason is the London time difference.
While NBC could show events live four years ago, with primetime in the United States lining up with morning competition times, that will not be possible this year. London is five hours ahead of the Eastern time zone, which means many of the top events NBC will show in primetime will be taped.
The 2008 Games averaged 27.7 million viewers per night, and 215 million viewers tuned in at some point during the 16-day Games, the most ever.
Some also predict that NBC's new strategy of streaming every event live could cannibalize viewership for the taped primetime programming.
Tags: ads, advertisers, advertising, barack obama, Beijing, campaign, london, london games, nbc, olympic advertising, olympic ratings, olympics, primetime, sports tv, summer games, summer olympics, United States, viewers
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