NBC Makes A Mountain Out Of Moguls, May Set Olympic Ad Clutter Record

NBC's secret in making its advertising goals in the Olympics? One way is to cram some 14 percent more commercials per hour than in previous Olympics games.

For the opening ceremony of the Olympics coverage last Friday, NBC ran 40 minutes of advertising time versus 35 minutes during the opening ceremony of the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Games, according to Nielsen Monitor Plus.

Auto and movie commercials dominated the airwaves for the first night of the Torino games. General Motors had five-and-a-half minutes for its Chevrolet, Cadillac, and FlexFuel vehicles. Overall, auto commercial time came to seven and a half minutes.

Movies were next--with three and a quarter minutes. Buena Vista Pictures films spent heavily here for "Eight Below" and "Shaggy Dog." Visa aired three minutes of advertising time. McDonald's, Exxon Mobil, and Coca-Cola each ran two minutes of commercials. NBC parent, General Electric, ran one and a half minutes of commercials.

For its own show promotion, NBC aired close to four minutes of promotion time, with half going for its new Dick Wolf cop/court room drama, "Conviction." Other promo spots went to "Deal or No Deal," "The Apprentice," and "Law & Order."



NBC has said it has met its advertising goal of some $900 million in advertising sales for the Torino Olympics. This was after a period in the fall when media buyers noted NBC seems a bit behind in its advertising sales efforts.

Other reports suggested that NBC made up the difference by luring in advertisers with a two Olympics package deal--buying the Torino Olympics as well as the next Olympics games planned for Beijing for Summer 2008.

NBC paid $613 million for the rights to broadcast the Torino two-week event, slightly more than the $555 million it paid for the Salt Lake City games. NBC made a $70 million profit from the Games in Salt Lake City--a similar profit from the 2004 Summer Games in Athens. NBC had pulled in $927 million in revenue from the Athens broadcasts after paying $793 million for the U.S. rights.

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