SBD/Issue 219/Olympics

Cablevision, NBC Yet To Reach Deal For Full Olympic Coverage

Cablevision and NBC Universal "have not come to an agreement for Cablevision to carry 2,200 hours of live online, broadband Summer Games coverage" that will be streamed to computers, according to Richard Sandomir of the N.Y. TIMES. The failure to reach a deal "also means that Cablevision subscribers will not receive NBC's new Olympic basketball and soccer channels." NBC said that about 90% of the "nation's subscribers to cable, satellite and telecommunications services would have access to the enhanced Olympic package" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/2). On Long Island, Neil Best noted between 70-80% of "homes with broadband Internet on Long Island subscribe through Cablevision" (NEWSDAY, 8/2).

NBC's "Today" Show Broadcasting
From Beijing During The Olympics
TODAY IS THE DAY TO SHINE: In L.A., Matea Gold writes NBC's "Today" show, which will broadcast from Beijing throughout the Olympics, "serves as one of the network's main promotional vehicles for the event, a place where athletes ... will either rejoice in victory or mourn their loss." "Today" show Exec Producer Jim Bell said of issues at the Games surrounding China's human-rights record, media censorship and environmental efforts, "I do think there's an opportunity for us to shine a light on some of those questions. I think you'll see that we will answer the call. When there's news, we will deal with the issues as they come." But Gold writes it "remains to be seen how many tough questions about China 'Today' will raise on its own." "Today" co-host Matt Lauer: "We aren't going to go there as guests of the Chinese government and deliberately poke sharp sticks in their eyes. We're not going to go out of our way to do it. But we think there are going to be a lot of opportunities to bring the subject up, based on the events of the day." The show last week did not report on "Beijing's ongoing pollution problems, a topic that received substantial coverage in other media outlets." But Bell said that that "doesn't mean it's going to ignore such topics" (L.A. TIMES, 8/4).

PEACOCK PLAN: The N.Y. TIMES' Sandomir today previews NBC's Olympics coverage and notes fans watching online "will not see live gymnastics, track and field, swimming, diving, volleyball or beach volleyball." Those sports are "reserved for NBC" from either 7:00 or 8:00pm ET to "midnight or beyond, when the audience is at its height and advertisers are paying the most." If something "important happens online, it may find its way into prime time." But certain events "will not be available online until they are done and available on-demand." NBC said that "adding an enormous online component will help in prime time." NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel: "We proved to ourselves in Athens that providing as much coverage as we have the capacity for fuels the buzz in the Games" (N.Y. TIMES, 8/4). The FINANCIAL TIMES' Joshua Chaffin reported NBC has "taken out an insurance policy -- said to be worth $1[B] -- in the event that its telecast is disturbed." NBC claims to have sold 96% of its ad inventory, and some ad execs said that the net "achieved this, in part, by offering discounts to its Olympic customers on other business." One ad exec said, "They were willing to take a hit elsewhere to make the Olympics look good" (FINANCIAL TIMES, 8/3).

CANADIAN BACON: The GLOBE & MAIL's William Houston reported the CBC has sold 80% of its Olympics ad time and "expects to see that percentage increase to 90" by Friday's Opening Ceremony. The net has been selling 30-second primetime spots for C$18,250, while a 30-second spot in the morning is selling for C$4,650 and 12:00-3:00am spots are going for C$8,100. The CBC "expects Beijing audiences to surpass the Athens numbers from 2004 because programming in prime time will be live starting" at 9:00pm ET, while primetime action from Athens was tape delayed. The net, which paid C$45M for rights to the Beijing Games, "won't say whether its coverage will turn a profit," but an ad source "believes it will" (GLOBE & MAIL, 8/2).

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