You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

NBC Expects 2018 Winter Olympics to Outperform Sochi Games in Ad Revenue

NBC expects ad sales for next year’s Winter Olympic in PyeongChang, South Korea, to exceed those for the 2014 winter games in Sochi, Russia.

“We’re pacing a little bit ahead of where we were going into Sochi,” NBCUniversal sports ad-sales chief Dan Lovinger said Wednesday on a conference call with reporters.

Lovinger and NBC Olympics declined to identify how much ad inventory has been sold thus far. The Sochi games earned $1.1 billion in revenue for NBC.

Speaking to reporters following an upfront presentation for the PyeongChang games at Rockefeller Center, NBC executives announced a shift in how they will sell advertising for the Olympics. The company will abandon its past practice of selling based on household ratings, and instead move to a total-audience measurement that will count all viewers ages two and up across linear and digital platforms.

“Total-audience viewing allows us to combine digital and linear viewing and deliver a single audience guarantee,” Lovinger said. “So if we see a spike in one set of numbers from, for instance, digital, it might offset the linear viewing that might be down slightly, or vice versa.”

The ad-sales change follows a 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro that saw steeper-than-expected declines in linear viewing and greater-than-expected increases in digital, where NBC once again made all events available to watch live for authenticated viewers. The Rio games averaged 27.5 million viewers across linear and digital platforms, down 9% from the 2012 summer games in London.

Speaking to Variety on Wednesday prior to the call, NBC Sports and Broadcasting chairman Mark Lazarus indicated that he anticipates viewing to continue to shift from linear toward digital.

“We think that our [linear] ratings will be off somewhat from what Sochi had been,” Lazarus said, declining to identify a viewership target. “Just media attrition will show us that.”

With viewing habits shifting, NBC announced Tuesday that it will also change how it presents its linear telecast. The network will broadcast all coverage of the games simultaneously across all four U.S. time zones for the first time next year, eliminating traditional tape delays for the Pacific and Mountain time zones.

That move will make more events available live for more U.S. television viewers — including more premiere events. Despite PyeongChang being 13 hours ahead of the Eastern time zone, events such as bobsled, Alpine skiing, and figure skating will air in primetime on the East Coast.

“This will be the most live winter games ever,” Lazarus said.

That is due in part to the extreme time-zone difference, which puts outdoor events such as skiing that must take place during daylight hours in U.S. primetime. But it is also due to an unusual shift of figure skating — one of the most popular Olympics sports for U.S. television viewers — from evening to daytime.

Scheduling for events is handled by individual sports federations. But NBC, whose broadcast contract accounts for roughly one fifth of the revenue that the International Olympic Committee generates from the games, expressed its scheduling preference.

“We certainly said we think it would be nice to have the premiere skating on in primetime in the United States, and other countries weigh in as well,” Lazarus said. He added that local organizers believed that scheduling the events for daytime in South Korea “would be helpful to them to sell tickets.”

NBC also announced on Wednesday that it would again partner with Buzzfeed to produce original content for Snapchat throughout the games. The network expects to generate “close to eight figures, if not eight figures” of social-media revenue in PyeongChang, Lovinger said on the conference call, “significantly more than was booked in Rio.”

More TV

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Among Cinema Audio Society Winners

    Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the Cinema Audio Society’s top prize for sound mixing at Saturday night’s 55th annual CAS Awards. The film is Oscar-nominated for sound mixing this year along with “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “Roma” and “A Star Is Born.” In a surprise over heavy-hitters “Incredibles 2” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Wes [...]

  • Marvelous Mrs Maisel Vice

    'Vice,' 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Lead Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Winners

    Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice,” starring Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell, won two awards at the sixth annual Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Saturday night. The film won for best period and/or character makeup as well as special makeup effects. “Mary Queen of Scots” received the prize for period [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Good Morning America

    Jussie Smollett Angrily Denies Complicity in Attack

    Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett issued a statement Saturday denying that he orchestrated his Jan. 29 assault, and saying he is “angered” and “devastated” by recent developments in the case. Chicago police want to interview Smollett, after learning new evidence from two Nigerian brothers who were released on Friday night. Local media outlets have [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Empire

    Chicago Police Want to Talk to Jussie Smollett as New Evidence Emerges

    Chicago police are seeking to re-interview “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, after new evidence emerged in his alleged assault. Smollett has claimed that two men attacked him at 2 a.m. on Jan. 29, yelled racial and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him, and put a noose around his neck. The Chicago Police Department has consistently said [...]

  • Five Takes on Canal Plus, Federation’s

    Just Days Left to Catch Canal Plus’ ‘The Bureau’ on MyFFF

    The most lauded of titles on this year’s MyFrenchFilmFestival, UniFrance’s online showcase featured by over 50 OTT services around the world, may not be a film but a drama series. With four seasons aired, and a milestone in world sales on a French TV show, slow-boiling espionage series ‘Le Bureau des légendes’ (“The Bureau”) is [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content