NBC Still Seeking Gold in the Olympics

The Olympics may be fading off the radar screen, especially for anyone concerned with, say, government or finance. But they were still one of the biggest events of the year. A month out, exclusive U.S. Olympics broadcaster NBCU is releasing more numbers tallied across different distribution platforms during its main event in Beijing, via Multichannel News and Reuters. Though 90 percent of U.S. watchers’ exposure to Olympics content came exclusively via TV viewing, other platforms (userunfriendly as they might have been) did manage to register.

For more minor platforms (sorry, but please note the data sets are not actually parallel here), it looks like the web destination only narrowly beat out mobile by number of visitors (but certainly not the number of video views).

Mobile WAP site: 6.5 million visitors, 36 million page views and 826,000 video views.
VOD: 6.7 million total views, 4.7 million of those for in-game highlights and encores.
NBCOlympics.com: 7.5 million visitors, 30 million streams of live and VOD coverage.

Users watching content on multiple platforms apparently makes ads more effective.

Brand recall: Increased more than 30 percent when an advertisement ran on TV and online, rather than just TV.
Message recall (remembering the point of an ad): Increased 41 percent when the ad was shown both on TV and online.
Simultaneous use: More than half of all online visitors used TV and web simultaneously at least once. Ten percent of those users did so regularly.

For stats on other markets around the world and on P2P platforms, see our previous post.

What about making money? NBC has failed to blow anyone’s socks off with its Olympics revenue, both in total — where it reportedly made a little more than $1 billion, which is a little more than what it spent for the rights — and online. NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker said last week in London, “The Olympics were profitable, not wildly profitable, but we made money on the Olympics…. You measure success in other ways than just what it’s done for the bottom line.”

Yes, but the failure lies in what could have been!