TV Olympics Data: Still Big -- But For How Long?

Are lower Olympics on TV still worth it -- for TV networks, advertisers and viewers? Think about this as a marathon, at mile 4 of the race.

When compared against previous Olympics, a quick observation would tell you these Rio Games wasn’t as good as previous events. Viewership was down 30% at times, with TV advertisers guaranteed media deals under-delivering around 15% from 17%.

Even including all of NBCUniversal TV/video platforms -- the NBC Television Network, its cable networks, and digital platforms -- NBC averaged 27.5 million viewers in prime time -- down 9% below the 30.3 million for the London Games in 2012. For the NBC TV Network, the games average 25.8 million viewers in prime time.

However, in perspective, things weren’t so bad for some viewers. Live viewing of all Olympic sports was available -- if you could navigate through the sometimes uneven scheduling tools offered.



All this had effects: Rio Games had simultaneous live digital streaming, as well as competing Olympic coverage on NBC’s cable networks -- something which London didn’t have. Which meant some viewer erosion.

Still, NBC looks to the future. And hopes. It credits itself for massive gains when it comes to social media and video digital platform consumption in Rio.

Then you need to talk up the financial success. NBC getting some $1.2 billion in advertising revenues and millions more once the games started. The most profitable games ever, say NBC executives.

Positives for traditional TV advertisers are that NBC TV Network itself had lots of “live viewing,” even if that Olympic programming, for the most part, was not broadcast “live.” That mean little-to-no fast-forwarding of TV commercials.

Did that hurt ratings? Did still rising and competing digital media consumption of other media collectively hurt NBC’s viewership -- especially versus four year ago? Not on NBC’s digital platforms. But perhaps on NBC’s traditional TV platforms.

While the Olympics put up lots of big data -- financial, viewing and social media -- one still worries about what the future brings for this big event.

A decade or so from now will millennial viewers offer big enough numbers to justify the billions spent by TV networks, advertisers/sponsors? This media race is long and favorites in the pack are hard to find.

Next story loading loading..