- Next year's Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl are providing NBCUniversal with strong ad sales, Dan Lovinger, EVP of advertising and marketing, NBC Sports Group, said on a conference call covered by MediaPost Communications. The network expects ad revenue of more than $935 million for the Olympics and $350 million for the Super Bowl.
- The PyeongChang, South Korea Winter Games is trending ahead of those held in Sochi four years ago at low double-digits, and NBC is changing its ratings guarantee for TV advertisers from a household guarantee to a metric average of viewers two-years-old and up, according to Lovinger. The reason for the change is growing digital TV viewership, and NBC will provide advertisers with results through its in-house Total Audience Delivery measurement.
- The network is selling Olympic inventory with Snapchat parent Snap Inc. as part of a long-term content and advertising deal. It will also be selling six-second TV spots during the Olympics but not during the Super Bowl, where it's commanding more than $5 million for 30-second spots.
TV audiences might be shrinking on the whole, but premium sporting events clearly still hold sway when it comes to destination viewing given NBC's healthy ad sales around the Winter Olympics and the Super Bowl. What might be most interesting about the Olympics is ad revenue is notably up from the Sochi games. These trends might dispell some notions that more advertisers are potentially spurning TV as ratings decline but media space still commands a high price tag. They also come as marketers appear increasingly wary of digital media amid a number of controversies this year pertaining to ad measurement, brand safety and general non-transparency in the supply chain.
NBC is still smart to alter its advertising strategy for the two events based on changing viewing habits, recognizing more people are watching on digital platforms and then making guarantees for advertisers to reflect that shift. NBC likely learned some tough lessons from 2016's Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where the network expected high ratings on TV but found newer options like streaming watered down those figures, as Variety reported.
Before the Summer Games last year, Facebook conducted a study that found two-thirds of respondents planned on looking for Olympic coverage on Facebook and Instagram, and it seems likely that that trend will only grow next year now that more social media platforms are focusing on premium video and streaming sports content. To capitalize on that, NBC is deepening its partnership with Snap, which it's consistently showed confidence in, including through a $500 million investment in the company when it went public in March. The two earlier this month launched a joint studio to produce original scripted shows for mobile viewing.
The news from NBC is also interesting in that the network is planning on selling six-second TV spots during the Olympics but not during the Super Bowl. Fox, which has helped lead the charge in bringing the fledgling format to TV — it was popularized online, on platforms like YouTube — has expressed confidence in its success and started selling super-short commercials around its NFL programming, including a marquee Thanksgiving game.