With ratings for the Sydney Olympics falling below projections, NBC has been forced to slow down its fall promo machine.
To clear space for make-good spots to advertisers, the Peacock has started cutting back the time it devotes to hyping its new fall wares during primetime Olympic broadcasts by up to 2-1/2 minutes per night. NBC had been airing 15-20 promos for primetime programs during its 7 p.m.-midnight coverage of the Games; that number is now being reduced by two to five spots each evening.
Other NBC-owned properties –including CNBC, MSNBC and NBCi — are also getting less promo time as the web races to fulfill its make-good obligations to advertisers before the end of the Games.
West Coast programmers understand the need for the promo cutbacks, but it’s hard to imagine they’re all that happy about the move; producers and studios with new shows debuting this season can’t be thrilled, either.
With the exception of “Ed,” none of NBC’s new fall contenders has generated much critical buzz. The net is also making a number of scheduling shifts this season, making on-air promotion of the changes all the more important.
Going into the final days of the Olympics, NBC is now focusing much of its on-air marketing muscle on those programs and nights launching next week: “Titans,” the season premiere of “The West Wing” and the net’s new Monday sked. Promos for November miniseries and shows bowing later in October are virtually nonexistent.
Still up on competish
While the promo cutbacks are a bummer for NBC programmers, the Peacock still has a huge leg up over its competitors. Even at lower-than-expected levels, the Games are providing NBC with aud levels higher than the other nets combined.
“The Olympics is one of the best promotional vehicles there is, and we have the ability to promote our new fall lineup to a huge audience each night,” an NBC spokeswoman said. “Millions of people will still be introduced to our new shows, and we still have the advantage over other networks (with) this tremendous promotional tool.”