NBC tries to salvage a difficult Olympics – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2021-08-05 22:16:00 –

There was a dream team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Michael Phelps medals were wiped out. The Tokyo Olympics are all the rage.

This was the biggest challenge for NBC Universal. NBCUniversal has paid over $ 1 billion to run 7,000 hours of game coverage on two broadcast networks, six cable channels, and the new streaming platform Peacock.

The average number of viewers on the night until Tuesday was 16.8 million, a sharp drop from 29 million on the same day of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. NBCUniversal has offered to supplement smaller viewers. -Expect TV viewers by offering free ads to some companies that purchased commercial time during the Olympics, according to four people who are aware of the issue, who discussed negotiations on condition of anonymity. Was there.

The opening ceremony set a modest tone. Instead of the usual athlete pageant waving to the crowd with a smile, there is a procession of participants walking through the almost empty Tokyo Olympic Stadium, to protect themselves from the COVID-19 epidemic as new variants rage. Everyone wore masks. The morning live broadcast and golden time replay received the lowest rating in 33 years at the opening ceremony, with just under 17 million viewers. The highest price was on Sunday, July 25, with over 20 million participants.

Bob Costas, who spent 24 years as NBC’s Golden Time Olympic host before leaving the network in 2017, said: t Create something out of thin air. Everyone knows that this is a unique Olympic Games.

“It’s like someone running 100 meters and having weight around their ankles,” Costas continued. “It’s not a fair judgment of their speed.”

The widespread change in viewing habits from traditional television to streaming platforms has been a major factor in the number of viewers. NBC’s Golden Time viewers have dropped significantly from the number of viewers for Rio games five years ago, but Olympic broadcasts are attracting far more viewers than the most popular entertainment shows. increase. The latest episode of rating leader CBS’s “Big Brother” attracted less than 4 million viewers.

“I was a little unlucky. After NBC’s parent company Comcast reported its second-quarter earnings, NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said in a conference call last week: Celebration: “The linear rating is probably a bit lower than we expected,” he added.

Still, Shell said he expects the Tokyo Olympics to be profitable and advertising revenue to outpace the cost of coverage. NBCUniversal spokesperson said today that the total advertising revenue for the Tokyo Olympics will be higher than the total advertising revenue for the Rio Olympics.

Expectations were further diminished by the absence or early exit of popular athletes such as gymnast Simone Biles, runner Shakari Richardson, tennis champion Naomi Osaka, and basketball star LeBron James. And to keep the coronavirus reminded, the correspondents on the air are masked to keep them away from the athletes.

Many of the reviews were scorching, with complaints about complex schedules, making it difficult for viewers to find the event they wanted to see. Critics also found an error in the distracting split-screen ad bushes on the main NBC broadcast.

Vulture television critic Jen Chaney said: “But above all, this year we see the wounds we are dealing with.”

Chaney noted an NBC interview with American swimmer Caeleb Dressel shortly after winning the gold medal at the glamor event. This is a men’s 100m freestyle. Dressel shed tears and said: It was really hard. “

The difference in the 13-hour time zone between Tokyo and the East Coast may also be affecting the decline in Golden Time viewers. Many in the United States are awakening to phone alerts that beat the winners of the medals featured on the night’s broadcast.

The strongest stories from the competition, such as the overall victory of American gymnast Sunisa Lee, seemed to be drawing attention with snippets shared on social media rather than on television. This trend is evident in the number of followers on TikTok’s NBC Universal Olympic Channel, which has increased by 348% since the opening ceremony.

Those who decide to watch must choose from a jumble of channels and digital options. In addition to NBC, coverage extends to NBC Sports Network, CNBC, USA Network, Olympic Channel, Golf Channel, and Spanish channels Universo and Telemundo, not to mention NBCOlympics.com, the NBC Sports app, and Peacock.

The Olympic coverage is headed by Molly Solomon, an executive at NBC Universal, who was appointed president of NBC Olympic Productions in 2019, months before the 2020 Olympics were postponed.

“The Olympics are the most complex sporting event in the world,” she said in an interview today. “The pandemic has added a layer of complexity.”

Solomon is a team of more than 3,000 people (1,600 in Tokyo, USA) trying to keep viewers in the moment by avoiding spectator stands and emphasizing tight camera shots that amplify the natural sound of the contest. Oversees 1,700 people). Volleyball spikes, runner screams during relay handoffs).

The production team also incorporates homewatch party shots to capture hoops and horror of medal-winning friends and family, and mini-segments that require considerable advance legwork.

“It was a different experience for the viewers. In light of the fact that there were no fans here, we tried to improve the viewers’ experience,” he said, since he started as a researcher at NBC in 1990. I have been working on the Olympics. For coverage of the Barcelona Olympic network.

In Costas’s view, which guided viewers to NBC’s Olympic coverage from 1992 to 2016, the comparison between the Tokyo Olympics and previous competitions is unfair given the plight caused by the pandemic. And three years from now, if everything goes according to plan, NBCUniversal will get the equivalent of a redo in Paris.

“Paris 2024 hopes the fingers will cross, as in the classic Olympic situation,” he said. “It will be a more legitimate test.”

This article was originally New York Times..

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