Lazarus: We Believe Sochi Olympics Will Be Profitable
NBC to kick off coverage of 2014 Games the night before the Opening Ceremony
By Tim Baysinger -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/5/2013 12:40:13 PM
"We believe we'll be profitable in Sochi," said NBC Sports Group chairman Mark Lazarus during a news conference on Tuesday.
NBC lost about $223 million on the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games, but turned an $88 million profit for last summer's games in London. The 2014 Games will be the first under the new rights deal that was signed back in mid-2011, which gave NBC the U.S. rights for the next four Olympics for $4.38 billion. The Sochi Games alone cost NBC $775 million.
"Ad sales are pacing extremely well," Lazarus said. "This will be a very good moment for our company."
NBC will begin its coverage of the Games a day early in primetime on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, with the Opening Ceremony the next night. The International Olympic Committee has added 12 events for the 2014 Games. The Games officially run Feb. 7-23, 2014.
Lazarus said they will not include that first Thursday in their overall ratings because they are not sure how many will tune in, but sounded optimistic on using that night to promote the Opening Ceremony coverage. "We think it's a great way to jumpstart the Opening Ceremony."
NBC will employ a similar strategy from the London Games, meaning every event from Sochi will be carried live on some platform (most via live-streaming), with tape-delayed events saved for the primetime coverage. Sochi is nine hours ahead of the East Coast.
Despite the controversy of NBC's decision to tape-delay many events so they could air them in primetime, Lazarus defended the decision, arguing again that offering the events earlier online actually drove viewership. "Thirty million people a night voted to watch us when they already knew what was going on," he said. "I think that [live-streaming events] satisfied a lot of the immediacy needs."
Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics, and president of operations and strategy, NBC Sports Group, said the online and mobile offerings was one of the key reasons that younger viewers surged "higher than any other demographic" during the London Games.
NBCU will again celebrate one year out from the Games with a major promotional plan, which includes a primetime roadblock at 8 p.m. on Wednesday across 19 networks. The networks airing the promo Wednesday at 8 p.m. as part of the roadblock or at another time within the 8-9 p.m. hour are: NBC, Telemundo, Bravo, Chiller, Cloo, CNBC, E!, G4, Golf Channel, MSNBC, mun2, NBC Sports Network, Oxygen, Sprout, Style, Syfy, The Weather Channel, Universal HD and USA.
NBC's Today on Wednesday morning will be Olympic themed and will introduce freestyle skiing's slopestyle event, one of the new Olympic events. In addition, numerous NBCU programs across television, radio and the web will preview the Sochi Olympics with editorial content.
"Our primetime roadblock is emblematic of our ability to utilize the scale of NBCU to market the Olympic Games to great effect," said John Miller, CMO, NBC Sports Group. "Our one-year-out campaign begins what will be the largest marketing effort ever by NBCU for an Olympic Winter Games."
Miller added that as part of the year-long marketing effort, NBC will run 2,500 GRPs worth of promos in primetime, enough to reach each person in the U.S. eight times. He said momentum from the London Games is strong as the intent to view among a survey group is "hanging in the mid-70s," a ratio that is vastly higher than any other NBC show, including top-rated Sunday Night Football.
If NBC doesn't stream the opening ceremony live I will give all of my friends and their friends access to live coverage from the CBC and BBC
Bite me NBC - 2/6/2013 4:41:30 AM EST
But NBC seriously needs to wake up and stop this craziness of interrupting coverage of the Closing ceremonies by previewing their lame primetime programs that eventually get canceled after its premiere...look at Animal Kingdom and need I say more.
Jed - 2/5/2013 9:17:42 PM EST
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