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  • ABORT, FAIL, IGNORE? IBM LOOKS TO RE-BOOT ITS SYSTEM

         By Day Three, IBM's system to deliver "up-to-the-minute"
    results was working for the media and Internet users, but
    newspaper and worldwide news agencies -- such as the AP or UPI --
     "still aren't getting results online consistently," according to
    the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION.  ACOG COO A.D. Frazier:  "The
    fundamental problem that was so vexing and difficult seems to be
    solved.  The next big key is to get it into the World Press
    Feed."  The media, however, "have grown increasingly angry"
    dubbing IBM's Info '96 system as "Info '97."  IBM spokesperson
    Jeff Cross:  "We expect people to judge us for our performance
    over the long haul of the Games, instead of the first two days"
    (Melissa Turner, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 7/23).  NEWSDAY notes
    IBM's system has "stumbled badly" (Thomas Maier, NEWSDAY, 7/23).
    The FINANCIAL TIMES calls the problems "a setback for IBM's plans
    to use the event as a showcase" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/23).  The
    L.A. TIMES:  "The problems, if they are not solved quickly, could
    prove a colossal embarrassment" to ACOG and Atlanta organizers,
    who touted these as the "technology Games" (Eric Harrison, L.A.
    TIMES, 7/23).  AP Sports Editor Terry Taylor:  "Right now, we
    have to assume that the results problem won't be fixed" (N.Y.
    TIMES, 7/23).
    

    Print | Tags: IBM, Olympics
  • MEDIA NOTES: NBC RESEARCH GETS FRONT-PAGE TREATMENT

         The WASHINGTON POST and USA TODAY note NBC's research and
    tilt toward female viewers (WASH. POST, 7/23; USA TODAY,
    7/23)....The Marquee Group notes that over 25% of NBC's on-air
    talent is represented by its subsidiary, Athletes & Artists (The
    Marquee Group)....CNN's "Moneyline" reported on the Games as a
    "ratings bonanza" for NBC.  Analyst Stuart Rossmiller:  "It has a
    phenomenon of rooting for the home town and the hometown is now
    Atlanta and not Barcelona.  The torch has been run all across the
    country over the course of the last three months.  Everyone knows
    the torch was going to Atlanta and that was great advertising for
    NBC" (CNN, 7/22)...."Showbiz Tonight" reported on how other over-
    the-air and cable networks are coping with NBC's highly rated
    coverage.  ESPN Senior VP/Programming John Wildhack:  "We're not
    just going to take these two and a half weeks and step aside.
    We're going to program as aggressively as we can.  As good as the
    [NBC] numbers will be, not everyone will be tuned in" (CNN,
    7/22)....In Toronto, William Houston notes CBC's coverage has
    been "clean, well thought out and mostly interesting."  He adds
    CBC's 14-hours of coverage a day is "far superior" to NBC (GLOBE
    & MAIL, 7/23).  The TORONTO STAR's Ken McKee notes CBC is not
    using its full complement of ads, 12 minutes per hour.  Peter
    Krez, CBC's GM Sales & Marketing, said after they sold 90% of ad
    time, "we had more than met our target" (TORONTO STAR, 7/23).
    

    Print | Tags: Canadian Broadcasting Corp., ESPN, NBC, Olympics, Time Warner, Walt Disney
  • NBC RATINGS THROUGH THE ROOF, REVIEWS CONTINUE MIXED

         NBC reported a 22.9 national rating and a 42 share for
    Sunday's prime time coverage, a 27% increase over Barcelona's
    first Sunday night of coverage.  For the first three nights of
    the Games, NBC has averaged a 21.4/42, up 32% from the first
    weekend in '92.  Among women 18-34, NBC gained a 16.1 on Sunday
    night, and a 14.1 cumulative over the first weekend.  Both
    numbers are up significantly over Barcelona (NBC Sports).  NBC
    Sports President Dick Ebersol said he would be "shocked" if
    Thursday night's ratings (women's gymnastics all-around finals)
    were not the highest of the Games.  Ebersol, Exec Producer Tommy
    Roy and Coordinating Producer David Neal "appeared downright
    giddy" after the success and the ratings for the opening weekend
    (Prentis Rogers, ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 7/23).
         LAST NIGHT'S PRELIMS:  According to Nielsen Sports Marketing
    Service, NBC gained an 8.8/28 overnight for its daytime coverage,
    a 26.0/42 for its prime time, and a 9.6/31 for late night.  NOTE:
    As these numbers are preliminary overnights, they may not match
    later figures cited either by the network or other news outlets
    (THE DAILY).
         GOOD REVIEWS:  In Sacramento, Rick Kushman writes that TV's
    job "is to show us everything and stay out of the way.  So far,
    NBC has done at least that" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 7/22).  In
    Philadelphia, Mike Bruton calls NBC "masterful" in "weaving
    gripping stories and having its hosts and reporters on top of
    every twist and turn" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 7/23).
         SO, SO REVIEWS:  In DC, Tom Shales:  "If the Games are as
    earthshaking as NBC keeps saying they are, then they merit better
    coverage than NBC is giving them" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/23).  In
    Minneapolis, Noel Holston writes, despite NBC's pledges to show
    as much as possible, "anybody who watched much of the first three
    days knows the network is doing nothing of the sort" (Minneapolis
    STAR TRIBUNE, 7/23).  NEWSDAY's Steve Zipay notes the "endless"
    NBC promos in addition to nine minutes of ads per hour (NEWSDAY,
    7/23).
         ANNOUNCER GRADES:  After giving high marks to gymnastics and
    swimming announcers, the L.A. TIMES' Larry Stewart criticizes the
    cycling coverage and announcer Al Trautwig for going "overboard
    with the dramatics, while forgetting about basic reporting" (L.A.
    TIMES, 7/22).  In K.C., Randy Covitz makes the case for Bill
    Walton -- not Magic Johnson -- to be the third man on NBC's
    basketball crew (K.C. STAR, 7/22). In St. Pete, Ernest Hooper
    writes that John Tesh is getting a "bad rap."  Hooper:  "As long
    as it is genuine, I prefer too much emotion as opposed to not
    enough" (ST. PETERSBURG TIME, 7/22).  In Washington, Tom Shales
    writes, "For the most part, Tesh is showing a  previously
    suppressed dignity" (WASHINGTON POST, 7/23).  In Boston, Jack
    Craig calls it "highly presumptuous" for Jim Gray to label 14-
    year-old silver medalist Amanda Beard as "America's sweetheart"
    (BOSTON GLOBE, 7/23).
         NOSE FOR NEWS?  The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Alexandra Peers:
    "While wire services and newspapers are chock full of tales of
    the credential foul-ups, heat stroke and transportation
    nightmares besetting Atlanta, it's Never-Never Land on NBC" (WALL
    STREET JOURNAL, 7/23).  NBC Sports spokesperson Ed Markey said he
    "didn't think much of the transportation story."  But ACOG's
    problems were covered by NBC News (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 7/23).
    Ernest Hooper:  "All is not well in Atlanta, but you would not
    know by watching NBC's prime-time broadcast" (ST. PETERSBURG
    TIMES, 7/23).
    

    Print | Tags: NBC, Nielsen, Olympics, Orlando Magic, RDV Sports
  • OLYMPIC NOTES: NBC'S HISTORY LESSON

         The "In Depth" segment of "NBC Nightly News" focused on the
    improvements in sports medicine which have allowed numerous U.S.
    athletes to compete in the Atlanta Games (NBC, 7/22)....CNBC's
    Susan Lisovicz reported on how minority and women owned
    businesses played a role in constructing Olympic venue sites.
    Nearly 1/3 of the $387M in construction and vending contracts
    went to companies owned by minorities and women ("Sports View,"
    7/22)....NBC's Bob Costas, after a feature on the Battle of
    Atlanta:  "Part of the reason Atlanta was able to land the
    Olympics was that for all the past history the city has
    demonstrated a real commitment for racial inclusion for the past
    several years.  Without the former [Martin Luther] King aide and
    former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, Billy Payne's vision of
    bringing the Games here would never have made if off the drawing
    board.  And, as in most Atlanta business ventures, the Olympic
    effort included significant participation by African-Americans.
    No one would suggest that the Dream has been fully realized.
    Significant problems remain here.  But, at long last, this one
    time bastion of the Confederacy seems to be doing better than
    most of the country in dealing with America's original sin and
    continuing dilemma (NBC, 7/22)....In L.A., Larry Stewart
    contrasted the Civil War piece with non-coverage of various
    sports.  Stewart:  "Hey, NBC, we tune in to watch competition,
    not for a history lesson" (L.A. TIMES, 7/23).
    

    Print | Tags: NBC, Olympics
  • REFUND! REFUND! EBU, OTHERS WANT RIGHTS REBATE ON GAMES

         The European Broadcasting Union said yesterday it wants  a
    refund of some of the $250M it paid for rights to the Atlanta
    Games.  In a letter to IOC, EBU cited working conditions "so bad
    that its members could not deliver acceptable programs to viewers
    and listeners."  The EBU is the largest media rightsholder after
    NBC and any refunds "would be a severe financial setback" for
    ACOG (Richard Walters, FINANCIAL TIMES, 7/23).  The EBU's Jarle
    Hoeysaeter said broadcasters arriving at some events "looked for
    competitors names and found blank papers instead."  The results
    system listed the age of one fighter at 95, when the boxer was
    only 21 (Johnson & Brown, USA TODAY, 7/23).
    

    Print | Tags: IOC, NBC, Olympics
  • SPONSORSHIP NEWS & NOTES: WHO'S READY TO RE-UP FOR '98?

         MCI introduces new TV spots on NBC's telecast.  The campaign
    will be complemented by aircraft skywriting over Atlanta during
    the event.  MCI said it has spent $20M in media alone to run 82
    spots during the Games.  MCI is also sponsoring 15 prime time
    vignettes, called the "Last 24 Hours" which features NBC
    highlights from the previous day (AD AGE, 7/23)....Reebok Int'l
    has hired The Bonham Group, a Denver-based sports marketing firm,
    to evaluate its Atlanta sponsorship presence (The Bonham
    Group)....New Balance will keep the three story building next to
    Centennial Park that it bought and renovated into a hospitality
    area.  They will now rent it to other companies as hospitality
    space for conventions and other trade shows.  New Balance has
    invested $3M into the building (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION,
    7/23)....Swatch watches with Annie Liebovitz photos on the band
    and face are selling strong at Centennial Park.  They are also
    available at Macy's (USA TODAY, 7/23)....Sources say Swatch is
    close to signing a deal with Sydney 2000 officials to renew their
    sponsorship.  They would join McDonald's and Coca-Cola, who have
    also made commitments past '96 (Dottie Enrico, USA TODAY,
    7/23)....Nielsen's top advertisers for coverage of Sunday's NBC's
    telecast include McDonald's, Coca-Cola Classic, and UPS.
    McDonald's aired seven ads; Coca-Cola had 5, and UPS ran 5 (USA
    TODAY, 7/23)....The PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS' Ed Moran looks at
    athletes and the difficulty in achieving commercial success:
    "All the right factors will have to fall into place in an exact
    order before ... [companies] start tossing paychecks."  Marketers
    agree TV coverage is essential.  ISI VP Steve Rosner:  "An
    athlete might have a great underlying story, but because of the
    lack of coverage, during or before the Games, it might get lost"
    (PHILA. DAILY NEWS, 7/23)....Atlanta-based UPS' Olympic
    sponsorship is profiled in the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION.  In two
    years, UPS has invested nearly $100M in its Olympic marketing
    program.  UPS Dir of Business Development John Alden said the
    company is in the final stages on deals for Nagano and Sydney
    (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 7/23).
    

    Print | Tags: Coca-Cola, McDonalds, NBC, Nielsen, Olympics, Reebok, UPS
  • THE BIG STORY: TRANSPORT, TECHNO PROBLEMS PLAGUE GAMES

         Media coverage of the transportation and technological
    problems that have confounded Games organizers and angered IOC
    officials continued to gain intensity, with even broadcast
    partner NBC getting into the act.  Last night's "NBC Nightly
    News" reported the IOC's concerns over transportation problems
    and the "unreliable" athlete shuttle bus service.  NBC's Tom
    Brokaw noted athletes are "disgusted" with the shuttles and that
    authorities were "herding" spectators into "human traffic jams"
    around the venues.  Also, many street vendors and restaurants
    near the sites are missing out on potential customers and
    dropping prices.  Some vendors are so upset by the lack of
    business, in fact, that a meeting was forced Monday with the
    Atlanta City Council to discuss the problem.  Brokaw, however,
    led into a more positive story with this spin:  "But even with
    all these inconveniences, everyday there are so many moments
    which make it all so worthwhile" (NBC, 7/22).
         THE RESPONSE:  ACOG officials "are throwing more buses,
    guides to out-of-town drivers, and new routes at their taxed
    transportation system in an effort to solve their woes on the
    roads."  In other news, major broadcasters (the EBU and Japan's
    NHK) are threatening suit over the "dismal performance" of ACOG's
    IBM-produced computer results system.  IOC member Alex Gilady:
    "I'm trying to calm the broadcasters down."  ACOG spokesperson
    Bob Brennan "insisted the bugs are being worked out in the
    complicated computer system, but he could not be specific".
    While Brennan refused to blame IBM, ACOG COO A.D. Frazier said
    they were told by IBM that the problems were "fixable."  Frazier:
    "I don't know why it wasn't fixable before now"  (Melissa Turner,
    ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 7/23).  The L.A. TIMES' Randy Harvey
    reports that IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch has appointed
    U.S. IOC member Anita DeFrantz to oversee ACOG's trouble-shooting
    efforts (L.A. TIMES, 7/22).   PRINT MEDIA LETS LOOSE:  The N.Y.
    DAILY NEWS:  "The world's greatest sports extravaganza has been
    plagued by snags, delays and other logistical problems" (Luke
    Cyphers, N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 7/23).  USA TODAY notes organizers
    "scrambled Monday to quiet the chaos" (Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY,
    7/23).  The L.A. TIMES' Mike Downey:  "It isn't funny anymore.
    Atlanta's Olympic organization, an oxymoron if I've ever heard
    one, is being called 'the worst ever' by members of the
    international committee" (L.A. TIMES, 7/23).  The lead from the
    top story in the WASHINGTON POST:  "A brewing rebellion by
    Olympic athletes against transport troubles and other glitches is
    dramatizing a logistical nightmare that threatens to overwhelm
    the global camaraderie and goodwill [of the Games' opening]"
    (William Drozdiak, WASHINGTON POST, 7/23).  The WASHINGTON TIMES'
    Tom Knott:  "Gone With the Witless" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 7/23).
    Columnist Rich Hoffman:  "This is just too big" (PHILA. DAILY
    NEWS, 7/23).  The N.Y. TIMES:  "An overloaded transit system and
    neophyte bus drivers are making transportation the great unknown"
    (Peter Applebome, N.Y. TIMES, 7/23).  The CHICAGO SUN-TIMES' Phil
    Rosenthal:  "Folk aren't asking 'How y'all doing?' down here so
    much anymore.  They know, and they're tired of hearing it"
    (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 7/23).
    

    Print | Tags: IBM, IOC, NBC, Olympics
  • VENDORS GET WORST OF BOTH WORLDS: HEAT, NO HUMANITY

         There are a number of reports this morning on the fallen
    expectations of merchants and street vendors in Atlanta.  In
    Philadelphia, Larry Copeland reports that parking-garage owners
    who had advertised rates of $50 a day "were gladly accepting $7"
    and that business owners on Auburn Avenue (where Martin Luther
    King is buried) claimed that ACOG reneged on a deal to close the
    avenue to traffic and turn it into a pedestrian mall (PHILA.
    INQUIRER, 7/23).  Donald Ratajczak, Dir of Georgia State Univ.'s
    economic-forecasting center, said businesses ignored the
    "displacement factor" in that visitors are merely replacing the
    locals.  Roger Tuttertow, Chair of Economics at Kennesaw State
    Univ.:  "People who thought they were going to make a killing
    were probably a little on the naive side" (WALL STREET JOURNAL,
    7/21).   In Atlanta, Ronald Smothers reports business is "slow to
    spotty," with taxi drivers "among the few to cash in so far" due
    to "glitches and overcrowding" in the transportation system
    (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 7/23).
    

    Print | Tags: Olympics
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