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SBD/January 24, 2014/Media
NBC Seeing Ad Revenue Grow, Expects Sochi Games Telecasts To Turn Profit
Published January 24, 2014
TOUCHY SUBJECTS: NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel on Thursday said that he was "confident with the amount and type of security in Sochi, where terrorists have threatened to disrupt the Winter Games." MULTICHANNEL NEWS' John Eggerton notes that security "will include background checks for everyone attending." Zenkel praised Russia's "fantastic cooperation" over the past few years as the Games came together. He added that he hoped to get Russia President Vladimir Putin to" sit down and talk about that 'incredible journey.'" NBC Olympics Exec Producer Jim Bell said that he would "have to wait and see what impact all that security would have on the American public's viewing experience." Bell: "There has to be, we hope, that balance between the security which everyone expects and wants to be very rigorous, but not to the degree that it stifles people's enjoyment of the games." Zenkel said that he "did not think it would adversely affect viewership" (MULTICHANNEL.com, 1/23). Meanwhile, VARIETY's Brian Lowry noted NBC Sports has "pledged not to ignore the anti-gay laws in its coverage, and critics should hold the network's feet to the fire given the rather large dog NBC has in the fight" (VARIETY.com, 1/23).
JUST CAN'T GET ENOUGH: NBC's Bell projected confidence that live streaming the Games "will not cannibalize primetime viewership numbers when Olympic coverage kicks off Feb. 6." He said it is not a concern "especially given the results of London." The takeaway there was that people "live streaming during the day were actually more likely to watch in primetime later." Bell did acknowledge execs are unsure whether ratings for Sochi will beat the '10 Vancouver Games. Bell: "In Vancouver, we had the ability to be live ... and that's a pretty special thing." But he stressed that the Games "are not just about the ratings." The new platforms "coming into play, the launch of new late night shows and showcasing NBCSN are priorities as well" (CABLEFAX DAILY, 1/24).
VONN NOT COMPLETELY GONE: In Denver, Joanne Ostrow reported NBC has conceded that U.S. skier Lindsey Vonn "won't be ready to work fulltime as an on-air commentator so soon after her knee injury." However, it sounds like "discussions are ongoing as NBC tries to figure out how to get a glimpse of Vonn on their air during the ratings-rich broadcasts" (DENVERPOST.com, 1/23).