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A-B'S PONTURO HOPES NBC HAS MORE OF AN EYE ON YOUNG MEN
Published February 24, 1998
Tony Ponturo, Anheuser-Busch's VP/Corporate Media and Sports Marketing, said Monday that "both the low household ratings and the lower numbers of young male viewers will force the company to sit down" with NBC execs before the Sydney Summer Games in 2000, according to Kirk & Jones of the CHICAGO TRIBUNE. Ponturo felt that CBS's coverage "ignored male viewers and played a major role" in the low ratings. Nielsen Media reports that the '98 Games drew "only" a 9.3 rating with males ages 25-54, compared with a 17.1 rating in '94. Ponturo: "You have to make sure women are intrigued with the Olympics. But we're now concerned that the pendulum is so far over the 21-to-34-year-old male is saying that 'you're not talking to me anymore.'" Ponturo said that A-B "may take the unusual step of asking" for NBC "to guarantee an audience with a more specific makeup -- namely, young men -- when it negotiates" its advertising for the next Games (Kirk & Jones, CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 2/24). BELIEVERS: AD AGE's Jeff Jensen reports that A-B, AT&T and Coca-Cola are "expected to announce within weeks deals to advertise on NBC's broadcasts of the next five Olympic Games." A-B's pack is valued at around $375M for the NBC rights. Jensen: "Although advertisers will try to leverage the poor performance of CBS to squeeze NBC for lower rates in 2002, observers said that will be difficult." Momentum IMC Managing Dir Mark Dowley: "I don't see the problems of Nagano even putting a dent in the marketability of the next Winter Olympics" (AD AGE, 2/23). DAILY VARIETY's Richard Katz reports that CBS's sub-par performance "did not have implications" for the 2002 Salt Lake Games. TN Media Senior Partner Steve Sternberg: "Salt Lake City is going to be a home run no matter what" (DAILY VARIETY, 2/24). FROM OZ: NBC Sports President Dick Ebersol "anticipates no problems" with broadcasting the Sydney Games. Despite the time difference, "despite everything being on tape, Ebersol said his production will be propelled by storytelling." Ebersol: "The Summer Olympics is a 26-ring circus, and there's never a paucity of events to put on. And Americans are medal participants in all sports. ... We've shown that the Olympics have to be produced more as entertainment than a sporting event. ... There is a lot more fragmentation out there, from on line, so they'd better hit the emotional high points all the time" (N.Y. TIMES, 2/24).