NBC declares victory after Olympics audience drops 6%
February 20, 2018 | 73° | Check Traffic

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NBC declares victory after Olympics audience drops 6%

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Erin Hamlin carries the flag of the United States during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Feb. 9.

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NBC is attracting about 24 million viewers a night to its Winter Olympics coverage from South Korea, enough to ensure the network doesn’t have to give its sponsors additional airtime for free.

The flagship NBC network is drawing 22 million viewers a night and an additional 2 million are tuning in to cable and online programming, executives of Comcast Corp.’s entertainment division said today in a press conference.

While that’s down about 6 percent from the winter games four years ago in Sochi, Russia, it means the network is meeting its guarantee to advertisers and won’t have to give away costly make-goods, a problem that hurt the telecast of the Summer Olympics two years ago in Rio de Janeiro. Airtime set aside for possible make goods can now be sold.

Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Broadcasting and Sports, said the network expected a decline in viewership and calibrated its audience promises accordingly. NBC has sold more than $900 million in ads so far and expects its telecast to be profitable.

Executives said they expect total viewership to rise from four years ago, thanks to gains during other parts of the day and other platforms.

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