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NBCUniversal makes over $1.2 bn in ad sales from Rio Olympics

MUMBAI: US media conglomerate NBCUniversal took in more than $1.2 billion in advertising sales for its 17 days of coverage of the Rio Olympics across its broadcast network, cable channels and streaming video. The network is understood to have made a profit of $200 million from the event.

A report in ‘L.A. Times’ said that although the network’s average audience of 24.9 million viewers was down 18 per cent from the London Games, NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus told the media outfit that the audience levels guaranteed to advertisers were met through the available ad time NBC had going into the Games.

NBC had promised advertisers the Games would get prime-time ratings comparable with four years ago. When it became clear the number would fall short, advertisers received additional commercials to make sure they reached the number of viewers they paid for.

Time originally allocated for promotional spots for NBC shows were also used to give advertisers “make good” ads, the report said.

As a result, NBCUniversal will be able to keep all of the record-setting ad revenue that came in before the Games began. The $1.2 billion-plus take is a 20% lift over the London Games and will make Rio the most profitable Olympics in history, according to NBC executives.

NBCUniversal is learnt to have earned a profit of $200 million from the Rio Olympics telecast.

“Every advertiser left the games Sunday night with everything we owed them. We didn’t quite get there the way we thought we might but we got there,” Lazarus said.

NBC could have taken in even more ad revenue if the audience guarantee had been met, the report added.

But executives did not anticipate how many viewers would watch the thousands of hours of live coverage NBC streamed online, which pulled away some TV viewers  — although the network has yet to determine how many.