SBD/January 23, 2014/Media

Streaming Of Sochi Olympics Allowing NBC A New Way To Monetize Broadcasts

NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel said what "remains valuable and incredibly unique about the Olympics is that it brings a massive audience together for a sustained (period of time)." Zenkel: "There's really nothing, of course, like it in media in the United States and in television." Zenkel, appearing on Bloomberg TV's "Street Smart" yesterday, said it is an "incredible opportunity for marketers in this country to get in front of a big, wide demographically diverse audience and market to them in association with the world's greatest event." Meanwhile, NBC Olympics Exec Producer Jim Bell said the net is able to monetize the broadcast "in ways that we hadn’t before," as the Sochi Games "will be the first Winter Olympics ever where all competition will be streamed live." NBC streamed all '12 London Games events, and Bell said, "What we found was in fact that the people who were engaged in Olympic content, whether it was streaming or online or on apps, were more likely to watch television." Bell noted the ability to take advantage of live streaming has been a "success on all fronts." Meanwhile, Zenkel said as more live Olympic content has been made available, it "galvanizes and circulates and creates more and more communication and chatter." Zenkel added, "We've seen our primetime audience continue to grow." Bell added the Olympic audience is not one that "just wants to know who won and who lost" ("Street Smart," Bloomberg TV, 1/22). 

GETTING THE LO-DOWN: SPORTS ON EARTH's Selena Roberts noted an image of U.S. bobsledder Lolo Jones appeared "over the left shoulder of anchorman Brian Williams" during NBC's "Nightly News" on Monday. Jones on Tuesday also was "fielding questions via satellite" from "Today" show host Savannah Guthrie. The ramping up of Jones' appearances is a "two-straw love affair that NBC needed" after losing skier Lindsey Vonn to a knee injury. Jones is the "replacement star, the sex appeal sub for the injured ski queen, a hot storyline to ride down bobsled's serpentine track." Roberts: "NBC's motive is clear: When the Today show music of Olympic trumpets cued the end of the interview, none of Jones' bobsled teammates, who were seated off camera, had been asked a single question" (, 1/22).
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