SBD/July 25, 2012/Olympics

NBC Set To Surpass Record $1B In National TV, Digital Ad Sales Around Games

NBC says it will surpass a record-high $1B in national TV and digital ad sales around the London Games. That figure is $150M higher than NBC sold in Beijing four years ago and $50M higher than NBC was reporting at the beginning of July. The net's coverage of the Opening Ceremony is completely sold out and its coverage of the Closing Ceremony is virtually sold out, NBC Exec VP/Sales & Marketing Seth Winter told THE DAILY. "It's been a little over two years of hard work," Winter said. NBC's ad sales performance comes as the network's execs have been hinting that they expect to lose money on the Olympics this year. NBC said it lost $220M on the '10 Vancouver Games. The $1B in ad sales includes NBC, Telemundo, NBC's cable channels, NBCOlympics.com, 3D, apps and specialty channels. NBC says it has sold more than $60M in digital ad sales, though it is not selling digital on its own. All digital ad sales are packaged with TV buys. The London Games will be the first time every event will be streamed live online via NBCOlympics.com. Winter said almost every TV ad sales category -- other than hotels -- has bought time. This year's performance is a marked contrast to Beijing, where NBC ran up against the beginnings of an economic recession in the U.S. "We saw some of our conversations fall apart in late May and early June going into Beijing," Winter said. NBC said P&G made a big investment, as did BMW and GM. Winter singled out Fruit of the Loom, which also made a big investment despite not being an official ring holder (John Ourand, THE DAILY).

EARLY SCREENINGS: USA TODAY's Levin & Bianco report NBC for the first time will "air commercial-free sneak previews of two series during Olympics coverage." The Matthew Perry-led comedy "Go On" will air its pilot episode Aug. 8, while "Animal Practice" will premiere Aug. 12 after the Closing Ceremony. A six-minute teaser "for the drama 'Revolution,' due Sept. 17 from producer J.J. Abrams, also will air after a key swimming event Aug. 4." NBC Entertainment Chair Bob Greenblatt said, "We knew that if we were going to wait five or six weeks (after the Games), that would be a mistake, which is why we decided to premiere everything early" (USA TODAY, 7/25). In L.A., James & Collins note the Games will "pay dividends to NBC that won't show up directly on a balance sheet." While the Games are on, the net "will have valuable exclusive content for its critical and still highly profitable 'Today' franchise." The event "helps NBC build its sports division," including NBC Sports Network (L.A. TIMES, 7/25).

LOCAL DOMINATION: The GUARDIAN's John Plunkett noted the BBC’s coverage of the Games “has begun with the wholesale shift of its news and sport programmes to east London and the first event live from the Millennium Stadium.” BBC1, BBC3 and “24 dedicated digital services means it will also be the biggest reality TV event the small screen has ever seen.” Non-sports fans will be able to “seek refuge on BBC2, to where popular BBC1 shows such as EastEnders and Holby City will move for the duration of the games.” Coverage of the games begins today with the British women's soccer team's opening match against New Zealand. BBC1's coverage will “begin at 6am every day and continue until 1am” London time (GUARDIAN.co.uk, 7/24).
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