NBC Continues Struggle With Olympics Viewership

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Ever since I was a kid, I have always enjoyed watching the Olympics.  There’s just something about the notion that through sport, all just seems to be right within the world for a couple of weeks be it during the winter or summer months.  Now I know as of late, the Olympics occasionally get riddled with scandal of some sort, but overall, it is great to watch athletes, who are generally amateurs in nature, come together to compete.

Here in the States, NBC provides our coverage of the Games, and one of the areas of criticism the station always receives is how it goes about its prime time coverage.  One of the Summer Games marquee events is always women’s gymnastics, and I can’t help but think how both my wife and I were disappointed to know the results ahead of time before NBC would even air them with the most recent games in Rio.  Brazil even had a favorable time zone no less, only an hour ahead of New York.

Well, the next three Olympics will be in Asia.  2018’s Winter Games will head to South Korea, 2020’s Summer Games will head to Tokyo and 2022 will head to Beijing.  So what will this mean for NBC, as pretty much all of those host countries will be 13-14 hours ahead of Eastern Time?

The New York Times tries to answer just that today.  NBC’s primetime viewership in Rio was lower than expected.  The answers to this are unknown, because for all we know, they may not even put anything on TV, and we will all just be watching through our smart devices.  Technology continues to evolve at a lightning pace.  

“You’d be a lot less concerned if you were in the United States or in Continental Europe,” mentions Rich Greenfield, an analyst with BTIG Research. “Ninety percent of the content from Asia will be happening when we’re asleep — and when we wake up we’ll see our Twitter feeds and news stories telling us what has already happened.”  

But of course, money talks, and with the investment NBC has made over the next several years, they still continue to bank on viewers tuning in.

In a statement, Mark Lazarus, chairman of the NBC Sports group said, “The Olympics are the only events of its kind, dominating prime time for 17 straight nights, 118 Summer Olympic nights in a row,” in reference to the past Summer Olympics in which NBC had televised.

​Time will only tell what NBC’s eventual ROI will be.  Will you tune in readers?


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