NBC continues after rocky start to Olympics transition

New York (AFP) – On the penultimate day of the Tokyo Olympics, NBC Universal got the kind of image it pays for: Kevin Durant, draped in an American flag, cheering for the gold medal for the US men’s basketball team. .

It was in many ways a transitional Olympic cycle for the media community, as the old ways in which America consumed games were fading fast and new ways still taking hold.

They are different and we have never deviated from them,” said Pete Bevacqua, president of NBC Sports. “We said it’s a different Olympics, of course, but it’s still great, it’s still great and it’s still the best 17 days in the sport.”

He said that NBC Universal would make money from the games, though he did not say how much. NBC was quick to schedule “things to do,” which meant giving advertisers extra publicity due to TV audience was less than expected, Bevacqua predicted that 99% of the commitments would be fulfilled by the end of the Olympics.

The Olympic Games started with concerns about covid-19, Some unexpected losses for the Americans and the withdrawal of most of the gymnastics star events Simon Bailey. While the Americans improved their performance, NBC largely avoided the decline in consumer interest that traditionally occurs during the second week of the Olympics.

“When you look at the numbers, it’s hard to be happy,” said Andy Billings, director of the Sports Communications Program at the University of Alabama. “It’s probably the worst case scenario for NBC, but it’s probably the worst case scenario that could have been predicted months ago.”

With the explosion of live and video on demand, the audience for live TV has declined across the board. This effectively provides a measure of financial protection; NBC’s rival networks are also closed, and few events reach an audience as large as the Olympics, even in a low state.

Americans approached the Games with collective disregard. 36% of those surveyed at the end of July at Monmouth University in New Jersey said they were less interested in the Olympics than usual and 3% expressed more interest.

One reason for the decline in interest, especially from Republicans, is disgust with the athletes’ political statements, said Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth polling institute. There was little in Tokyo. However, there was a strange explosion of joy on social media among some American conservatives and former President Donald Trump’s claim that “waking up means losing” when The US women’s soccer team lost their chance to win the gold medal.

Consumers watching the Olympics different ways. Cable ratings increased. NBC had the Olympics website and broadcast service Peacock, the latter for the first time.

A study of the 2018 Winter Games found that one-sixth of the Olympic content Americans consume is streamed on devices and that percentage is likely higher in Tokyo, Billings said. In China, 40% of consumption four years ago was on hardware.

You can follow him on Instagram or Snapchat,” Billings said. “But I don’t think anyone has hacked the code for this to make as much money as possible on remote TV.”

NBC Universal said it now has 52 million people registered in Peacock, exceeding its expectations. The next few months will see if any of the new clients stay. Billings said NBC needs to do a better job of making Peacock a focal point of the games.

NBC, which has been criticized in recent years for not showing enough Olympic events, faced the opposite problem in Tokyo. Fans have proven to have a hard time figuring this out and knowing where to go to see something specific.

Bevacqua recognized the need to improve your browsing experience. “I think we’ve done a better job since the start of the Games,” he said. “We responded to that.”

NBC has also taken steps to diversify its primetime roster, although it is still dominated by gymnastics, swimming and diving, as well as track and field.

the lack of spectators It was shocking at first. It was an embarrassing moment when the NBC volleyball presenter said, at an important time when the judge was considering an appeal, “You hear a pin fly in this arena.”

“I think it was a psychological uprising that she needed and she responded to,” Bevacqua said.

Today, the company is facing a brief turnaround. The Winter Olympics in Beijing are expected to begin within six months.

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