NEW YORK (AP) — On the final day of the Tokyo Olympics, NBC Universal got the kind of image it gets paid for: Kevin Durant, draped in the American flag, cheers for the gold medal of the United States men’s basketball team . .
It was in many ways a transitional Olympics for media society, where the old ways America consumed the Games are fast fading away and the new ways are still taking hold.
“They are different and we have never strayed from them,” said Pete Bevacqua, president of NBC Sports. “We said it was a different Olympics, but it’s still amazing, it’s still fantastic and it’s still the best 17 days in the sport.”
He said NBC Universal would make money from the games, although he did not say how much. NBC hastened to schedule ‘Do Things,’ which means giving advertisers extra publicity because TV viewers were less than expected, And Bevacqua predicted that 99% of the obligations would be met by the end of the Olympics.
With the start of the Olympics Concerns about COVID-19, Some unexpected losses for the Americans and the return of most of the gymnastics star’s events Simone Billy. While Americans have improved their performance, NBC has largely avoided the decline in consumer interest that traditionally occurs during the second week of the Olympics.
You can’t soften the dramatic decline in prime-time entertainment on network television, the staple of coverage of the Olympic Games. For many nights, NBC’s audience was half what it was for the Rio de Janeiro games five years ago.
“When you look at the numbers, it’s hard to be happy,” said Andy Billings, director of the sports communications program at the University of Alabama. “It’s probably NBC’s worst case scenario, but it’s probably the worst they could have predicted months ago.”
With the explosion of streaming and video on demand, viewership for live television has dwindled. It effectively provides a measure of financial security; NBC’s competing networks have also taken off, and few events reach audiences as large as the Olympics, even in a lesser state.
Americans approached the Games with a collective shrug. Of those polled at New Jersey’s Monmouth University in late July, 36% said they were less interested in the Olympics than usual and 3% said they were more interested.
Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth Polling Institute, said one of the reasons for the drop in interest, particularly from Republicans, was the hatred of athletes’ political statements. There was very little in Tokyo. However, there was a strange burst of joy on social media amid some US conservatives and former President Donald Trump’s claim that “waking up means losing”. The United States women’s football team missed its chance to win the gold medal.
Consumers watching the Olympic Games various ways. The cable rating has increased. NBC had its own Olympic website and streaming service Peacock, a first.
Many youths, in particular, kept informing themselves through video clips on their devices. Bevacqua said more than 1.4 billion minutes of highlights and clips were streamed, 37 percent more than the Rio Games.
A 2018 Winter Games study found that one-sixth of Olympic content consumed by Americans is streamed on devices and that percentage is likely to be higher in Tokyo, Billings said. In China, four years ago 40% of consumption was on appliances.
“You can follow him on Instagram or Snapchat,” Billings said. “But I don’t think anyone has cracked the code on this to make as much money as they can on a remote TV.”
NBC Universal said 52 million people have now signed up for Peacock, exceeding its expectations. It will be seen in the next few months if there will be any new customers. Billings said NBC needs to do a better job of making Peacock the centerpiece of the games.
NBC, which has come under criticism in recent years for not showing enough Olympic events, had the opposite problem in Tokyo. It’s proven so much that fans have a hard time figuring it out and knowing where to go to see something special.
Bevacqua recognized the need to improve the browsing experience. “I think we’ve done a better job since the start of the Games,” he said. “We answered it.”
NBC has also taken steps to diversify its prime-time menu, although it is still dominated by gymnastics, swimming and diving, as well as track and field.
NS lack of audience It was shocking at first. There was an embarrassing moment when an NBC volleyball presenter, at a crucial time when a judge was considering an appeal, said, “You hear a pin fly in this area.”
But spectators rarely play a role at Olympic events, and the way NBC used video conferencing to connect athletes with family and fans at home had some appeal. The pandemic also seemed to unite the athletes, and NBC skillfully handled the fair play scene.
“I think it was a psychological uprising that the country needed and responded to,” Bevacqua said.
Today, the company is experiencing a brief turnaround. The Beijing Winter Olympics are expected to begin in six months.
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