NBC Refutes Olympic Coverage Criticisms

(ATR) NBC says it is capitalizing on the rise of multiple media platforms and the resulting change in consumption patterns.

(ATR) NBC says it is capitalizing on the rise of multiple media platforms and the resulting change in consumption patterns.

Seven days into coverage of the Rio 2016 Olympics, NBC says it has provided 1.28 billion minutes of live streaming across its broadcast, cable and digital media platforms. The amount of live coverage has already surpassed the total from both the London 2012 and Sochi 2014 Olympics.

"We are aggregating audiences at a scale that nobody has ever seen before," says chairman of the NBC Sports Group Mark Lazarus. "In Rio, we’re utilizing multiple networks and platforms to present more content than ever before — 6,755 hours — and to deliver the best possible experience."

Lazarus rattled off these figures and a number of other statistics to reporters during a conference call on Thursday in an effort to calm reports and criticisms that the network had not been meeting its broadcasting projections, the ones used to sell advertisements to companies.

"Overall, our ratings consumption is meeting our expectations, the mix is just a little different," Lazarus says. "Specifically, we’re giving consumers multiple options during daytime and primetime — our broadcast network, multiple cable networks and digital streaming. And we’ve never done any of this before in primetime."

The cross-platform approach cannot rely on standard Nielsen ratings that measure television consumption during prime time, though NBC says it is still leading the competition in that area as well.

"Our coverage is dominating the media landscape and is the highest rated primetime series since the London games," he says. ‘We are averaging a 15.6 prime time rating. Through last night, we are averaging a 29 share. Nearly one-third of televisions in use have been tuned to NBC in primetime."

So how can NBC measure its success and effectively sell ad space? By creating an entirely new metric called Total Audience Delivery.

"The Total Audience Delivery for Wednesday’s primetime coverage averaged a 16.5 household rating with 28.6 million viewers. NBC Olympics’ Total Audience Delivery measures broader Rio Olympics consumption by calculating average minute viewing across broadcast, cable, and digital."

Lazarus says the new metric is satisfying advertisers.

"Our advertisers are happy, and we have structured and managed our inventory in a way that, throughout the Games, they’ll be getting exactly what we promised them. We are so confident in our delivery that we’ve booked $30 million more in advertising since the Games began, which is just another sign of our success."

Written by Kevin Nutley

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