The 2016 Summer Games kicked off Friday in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with the Opening Ceremony.
NBC’s tape delayed coverage spanned a whopping four-and-a-half primetime hours. There was plenty of spectacle, plenty of commentary and plenty of ads — (self)promoting everything from NBC’s fall shows and Universal’s movies to automobiles and alcohol. There were so many commercials that the telecast felt at times like the Super Bowl; indeed, Amy Schumer’s Bud Light commercial from the NFL championship returned for several airings.
NBCUniversal boasted it had sold in excess of $1.2 billion in national advertising related to its broadcasts from the 2016 Rio Olympics, and viewers noticed. Many took to Twitter to express their unhappiness with the excessive ads, using the hashtag #nbcfail.
Here are some of the harshest and funniest critiques:
In effort to realize record profits from Rio 2016, NBC to become first network to air more than 60 minutes of commercials in a single hour.
— Norman Chad (@NormanChad) August 6, 2016
— Frank Pallotta (@frankpallotta) August 6, 2016
This has been an Opening Commercials to remember! #Rio2016
— Taylor Kearns (@RotaryChicken) August 6, 2016
— Lauren Smith (@LaurnSmith) August 6, 2016
first taste of the commercials I will be watching for the next 15 days #rio2016
— Erin Clifford (@erinmsh) August 5, 2016
— Ryan Parker (@TheRyanParker) August 6, 2016
— nick price (@nickprice91) August 6, 2016
Conversation in NBC conference room.
"If we tape delay one hour we can add a full hour of commercials."
— Bob Kevoian (@bobkevoian) August 6, 2016
The economics of the Olympics are well scrutinized at NBCU and its parent company. The Philadelphia cable-and-content giant agreed in 2011 to pay $4.4 billion for U.S. broadcast rights to the Olympics through 2020, and another $7.75 billion for the rights to the Games through 2032. In July, NBCU CEO Steve Burke declared the Rio Olympics would be “the most profitable Olympics in history.”
Profitable yes, but the network may want to reconsider its advertising strategy for future Games given the audience backlash.