NBC may break even as viewership exceeds expectations
Television viewers are so excited about the Olympics that NBCs corporate owners said Wednesday they now expect to break even on the London Games after once predicting they'd take a $200 million loss.
Through five days of events, ratings are some 30 percent higher than what NBC had privately predicted, said NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke. That means NBC can sell more commercial time than expected and charge higher prices for them.
Despite social media complaints about NBCs policy of filling its prime time with events taped earlier in the day, it hasnt dissuaded television viewers. There are even indications that it may have helped: 38.7 million people tuned in Tuesday night, when Americans easily could have learned by dinnertime that the countrys womens gymnastics team won a gold medal that day and swimmer Michael Phelps set a record for career medals earned.
On Monday, when the mens gymnastics team finished without medals, 31.6 million people watched.
We are way ahead of where we thought we'd be, Burke said.
NBC had drawn on past Olympics ratings performance in the era before social media in predicting that ratings for London would be on a par with the 2004 Athens games and 20 percent lower than the Beijng summer games in 2008. Many Beijing events were carried live in US prime-time, but because of the time factor, NBC knew it could not have as much fresh material from London.
Prime-time ratings for London are up 10 percent from the Beijing games, the Nielsen company said.
The guys in the office who make the most noise complaining about NBCs tape delay watch it for four hours each night, said Anthony Crupi, staff writer at Advertising Week.
NBC paid $1.2 billion for the rights to show the games on TV and online in the US. The companys prediction that it would lose some $200 million was based on the expense of doing business in London and its experience with the Vancouver winter games two years ago, the first Olympics that NBC has telecast that lost money.
Besides likely increases in sales for its own ad inventory, NBCUniversal will likely earn more money through ad sales at its affiliates and in the digital space, Crupi said.
Before the games opened, NBC said it sold more than $1 billion in advertising, the most ever for one event. Burke said the pre-sales of advertising earned the company some $100 million more than anticipated.
Chinese media reacted angrily to doping accusations swirling around new swimming sensation Ye Shiwen, insisting she is being judged by an old mentality and by those who are petty about the progress China makes.
The 16-year-old swimmer has won two gold medals at London the individual medley at 200 and 400 meters and has denied any use of banned drugs.
She was so fast in the last 50 meters of the 400 medley that her time was quicker than that of mens gold medalist Ryan Lochte over the same leg. US coach John Leonard was quoted in British media as saying Yes performances were unbelievable and disturbing.
On Wednesday, the state-run Global Times responded by saying questions about Yes feats were unfair.
The West still judges China with an old mentality, and is petty about the progress China makes, the newspaper said in an editorial. That was followed by the state broadcaster CCTV stepping in to support Ye on its noon newscast.
Yes father, Ye Qingsong, told Chinese media that Western media are always arrogant. Olympic organizers in London also defended the Chinese swimmer.
Here for the stretch
The gold medal sealed it, Martha Karolyi is definitely sticking around. The coordinator of the US womens gymnastics team turns 70 at the end of the month, and had talked about retiring after London. She said that the Americans winning gold has got her ready for Rio in 2016. If anything, it just reinforces the idea that I love it, Karolyi said, a huge smile on her face. I will stay in. I definitely enjoy every moment. Since Karolyi took over as coordinator in 2001, the Americans have won 60 medals at the Olympics and world championships. That includes Tuesday nights gold, the first since 1996, and the teams only three world titles (2003, 2007, and 2011) . . . For nearly half a century, Larisa Latynina was the worlds most decorated Olympian, but now that she has been surpassed by Phelps, she doesnt look on in bitterness. In fact, she said she could only be happy to see that there is such a talented athlete who was able to break the record. The 77-year-old woman was in the stands of the Aquatics Centre Tuesday night to witness Phelps pass her with his 19th medal.
Athlete sent home
IOC spokesman Mark Adams said female gymnast Luiza Galiulina of Uzbekistan was kicked out of the athletes village after her backup B sample came back positive for use of the banned diuretic furosemide. Galiulina a lesser-known name with no medal hopes tested positive in a pre-games urine control last Wednesday. She had been provisionally suspended by the IOC pending analysis of the B' sample.
Galiulina is the second athlete expelled from the games for doping. Albanian weightlifter Hysen Pulaku was disqualified last week after testing positive for the steroid stanozolol on July 23 . . . Amateur boxings governing body cleared members of the US Olympic boxing team of any wrongdoing regarding their possible contact with a professional promoter before the games. AIBA announced that no American boxers entered into promotional agreements before the Olympics, which would be a violation of amateur rules . . . A double-decker bus carrying journalists hit and killed a bicyclist, police and organizers said. The Metropolitan Police said the cyclist, 28, was pronounced dead half an hour after the accident near the boundary of Olympic Park, the complex surrounding Olympic Stadium. Police said a man in his mid-60s was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving and is currently in custody at an east London police station.