PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA (CelebrityAccess) – The PyeongChang Olympics have ended with a spectacular closing ceremony but viewership for this year’s Olympics on NBC was down 24% compared to Sochi from four years ago among viewers aged 18-49, the age demographic most coveted by advertisers.
NBC, however, contends that viewership in the demographic was actually down only 15% when including viewers from both NBC and NBC Sports Network, which is airing prime-time coverage of the Winter Games for the first time.)
Still, NBC, which is owned by Comcast (CCZ), expects to again make money off Pyeongchang in noting that its national ad sales are up from Sochi from $800 million to $920 million.
As well, the last three Games have been profitable for NBC, with the 2016 Rio Games setting a record Olympic profit of $250 million.
Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian Roberts said in a CNBC interview that he would “absolutely” renew or extend NBC’s Olympics contract.
“Our long-term Olympic rights agreement is the best in all of media,” NBC Broadcasting and Sports Chairman Mark Lazarus said in a statement. “We are very bullish on our investment. The Olympics have demonstrated the ability to assemble massive and diverse audiences on everything from broadcast television to Snapchat, and are uniquely suited to thrive in today’s expanding media landscape.”
But, perhaps, the biggest question NBC faces isn’t Olympics profitability at this time, but the trend that sports’ ratings, in general, have been dropping as younger viewers continue to turn away from television, an issue that could impact subsequent Games.
This year’s poor ratings could curb profitability further down the line because advertising dollars, especially in today’s changing economic, climate, are not guaranteed, and are far less secure than retransmission fees NBC charges cable providers and local stations to air its content,
In 2011, NBC paid a total of $4.38 billion for the rights to the next four Olympics. Three years later it bought another six for $7.7 billion.