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Good morning. It’s Monday, August 6, 2012, and this is your first early morning Sports briefing.
NBC touted over the weekend that through the first eight nights of the London Olympics, the Games have been watched by at least 28.5 million viewers for the first time ever, according to Nielsen. The network saw six nights of the London Olympics delivering more than 30 million viewers, which is more than the entire 2008 Beijing Olympics (which snared five) or 2004 Athens Olympics (with two). The network is averaging 34.5 million viewers in that span, up by 4.4 million over Beijing. The eight-night average household rating of 19.2/32 ranks as the best for any non-U.S. Summer Olympics since the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Certain demos are responding to the events as well, with overall viewership is up double digits among teens and teenage girls through the first seven nights.
Last week, NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus, and NBC Research President Alan Wurtzel spoke about the unexpected success for the Games, how advertisers have been impacted and critics of NBC’s coverage.
Lazarus on the Games so far: We couldn’t be more pleased with the current results on all of our platforms. We are over delivering on every measurement. Obviously, we are in primetime and that’s been well documented, but we are over delivering on every day part on NBC Broadcast Network, on cable, most significantly on NBC Sports Network, but also Bravo, MSNBC, and CNBC as well. Our advertisers, affiliates, and MBPD partners are all very pleased as well.
On the ratings: We are surprised by these results, and nobody, whether on this call myself or Adam, really expected this kind of overall performance at this point, but we can attribute it to a few things we think. The great performances so far by the world’s best athletes, including the U.S. Team, which has done quite well to date.
With that being said, we’ve had some challenges and they’ve been documented by some of you and by some of the critics on social media who have some new platforms these days to have their voices heard, and some of it is in fact fair and we are listening.
On critics: On the digital front, there have been technology issues at the start. We knew it wouldn’t be perfect and we said that before the games if you look back to things. We were trying new things and it was going to be difficult and a challenge. We believe most of these issues are gone and the overwhelming evidence we have is that people are loving the opportunity to see everything live online when they want to see it.
As with anything done in a public forum, not everyone is going to be happy, and it is clear the audiences are coming in droves and staying and returning night after night. We are very gratified by this. We have an incredible staff of people here in London and in New York who work hard every day to make each show the best possible experience it can be. Not just primetime, but daytime cable and online. We are very proud of what we are doing and I think we are being rewarded with huge audiences in the states.
Wurtzel on whether streaming impacts primetime coverage: We had an independent third-party research partner — the company is called (USAM) — conduct a survey of over 1000 viewers last Sunday and here is what we found about viewers’ attitudes towards tape. 43% said yes they’ve heard about the results of Olympic events, but — and this may sound counterintuitive — those who had heard results said they were more likely to watch the primetime coverage that night than those who hadn’t. In fact, 67% who knew the results said they were going to watch versus 54% who did not hear the results.
On the impact on advertisers: Based on over 3000 completed surveys, a commercial seen in the Olympics delivered on average a 67% higher brand recall, 96% higher message recall, and 31% higher likability versus the same exact commercial seen outside the Olympics. And these measures are industry standards of commercial effectiveness. And finally as a cultural phenomenon nothing compares to the Olympics.
The NBC Sports Group and the French Tennis Federation locked in a multi-year, multi-platform extension that will now add 10 more hours of live U.S. television coverage and increased digital rights for the French Open through 2024. NBC will air the opening Sunday of the tournament as well as middle weekend tennis, the men’s and women’s semifinals and the men’s and women’s finals. New aspects to the partnership include the additions of key days of the tournament to the network including Memorial Day coverage, as well as the women’s semifinals for the channel’s championship weekend.
MTV2 is picking up the second season of extreme sports series Nitro Circus Live series, featuring 17-time X Games medalist Travis Pastrana and his sports-adventure troupe. Prior to the new season, fans can also take the release of Nitro Circus the Movie 3-D on the 8th, the group’s first feature length film. MTV2 will ring in the new season with a special season one marathon today starting at 4p.
After founding both Tennis Channel and Ski Channel, Steve Bellamy is looking toward the coast. Bellamy announced that he would be creating his third single sport network with Surf Channel, which will launch in the middle of September in 20 million homes with deals on Comcast, Cox, DirecTV and Dish Network. Programming is set to include original series, events, films and short-form content. The new platform also inked a preferred partnership with YouTube for the surf category.
ESPN Films revealed its lineup for the 30 for 30 series on Friday, with programming starting Tuesday, Oct. 2, at 8p with the documentary Broke. The 30 for 30 slate this fall include: Broke, 9.79*, There’s No Place Like Home, Benji, Ghosts of Ole Miss, and You Don’t Know Bo.
Golf Channel is slated to offer nearly 50 hours of news coverage from the PGA Championship at The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island, S.C. Programming will be headlined by Live From the PGA Championship, starting tonight at 6p. Morning Drive, the network’s live, weekday morning show, also expands to seven days this week for the tournament.
Former CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell is officially returning to ESPN, starting today where he will handle a multi-platform role that includes television, digital and ESPN Radio as well as contributions to ABC News.
Pac-12 Enterprises announced that it has reached a deal with Western Broadband and Orbitel Communications to carry the Pac-12 Arizona regional network in the area. The new networks launch August 15.
BTN will televise more volleyball this season than ever before, lining up at least 50 matches that will air on the channel . The season begins with defending Big Ten Champion Nebraska hosting 2011 National Champion UCLA on Sept. 19. BTN’s volleyball coverage also includes the BTN Volleyball Report, a new, weekly web-only show hosted by Mike Wolf.
This week! Join your colleagues in NYC on August 9for the Sports Media Awards Breakfast! View finalists at: http://ow.ly/bObiI
CSE President, Marketing Adam Zimmerman is in London to the Olympic Games for the next week and is sharing his daily perspective of the events from a business perspective for Cynopsis Sports. Here is a portion of his first entry, which can be read in its entirety here…
“It’s a scandal” said the clearly affluent Brit sitting next to me at lunch today on Carnaby Street. He echoed the words of the wonderful gentlemen who has been my makeshift concierge at my hotel. Over coffee this morning, the makeshift concierge told me how much he wants to take his kids to events and Olympic Park but couldn’t secure any tickets.
Now I don’t think that the British use of the word scandal at all equates to the American usage. I believe it captures a general sense of “this could be so much better.”
Everyone agrees that it is a shame that tickets are not readily available but no one has stepped up to solve it… Is there a marketing moment to be owned by an Olympic sponsor?
Read the rest on his Olympics entry at Cynopsis.com.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Explores the latest research on viewing patterns and evolving media preferences of specific demographic groups, as well as identifies the newest trends networks and ad agency executives are using to target and reach each of these demos. For ad opportunities contact Mike Farina.
Women | OCT 10
Baby Boomers | OCT 17
Kids, Tweens & Teens | OCT 31
Hispanics | NOV 13
Digital Viewers | NOV 21
Sponsorship & Promotion Gymnastics champ Gabby Douglas didn’t take long to land on the front of a cereal box. The gold medal winner will be featured on the cover of the Corn Flakes box and will join USA Gymnastics teammates Jordyn Wieber and Aly Raisman on a 40-city Kellogg’s tour starting September 8.
Speaking of cereal, Team Target drivers Dario Franchitti (INDYCAR), Scott Dixon (INDYCAR) and Juan Pablo Montoya (NASCAR) will be the new faces on select Kellogg’s brand packaging nationwide starting August 19. The trio will be featured on brands that include Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes, Pop-Tarts, Rice Krispies Treats and Vrooms cereal.
FOX Deportes is teaming with the Hispanic Scholarship Fund (HSF) to promote higher education access for Hispanic students through a nationwide educational campaign. The campaign will feature a public service announcement and on-air FOX Deportes talent support starting this month and running through 2013. To support the initiative, FOX Deportes will launch a public service campaign across TV, radio and social media, in order to build awareness for the resources available for college education.
Golf Digest and Golf Channel will join the Chase Sapphire credit card brand to launch Beyond the Tee, a multi-platform, multi-channel joint marketing initiative created to reach golf enthusiasts. The initiative “encourages golfers to share online invitations to offline activities with friends and family through a new Facebook application and by offering exclusive golf experiences.”
NBC Olympics revealed that across the online, mobile and tablet platforms for the Games, there have been 75 million total video streams, 34 million live streams (which already bests the entire Beijing Games), 744 million page views, and 31.5 million unique users (web only). The NBC Olympics Live Extra and NBC Olympics apps have been downloaded more than six million times. Five Olympic events have surpassed one million live streams with Tuesday’s women’s gymnastics team gold medal final leading the charge with 1,462,834 streams.
With 30 for 30 poised to come back this fall on television, ESPN Films also announced that they will expand the brand to include a 30-part digital short film series. 30 for 30 Shorts will be launched with Bill Simmons’ Grantland.com and premiere monthly on the site. The first short, Arnold’s Blueprint debuts on September 26.
The Main Event
The Men’s 400m Final in Track & Field coverage at the Olympics on NBC at 8p.
A CYNOPSIS MESSAGE
Cynopsis: Digital Measurement Summit: Video ROI, Illuminated
Join us as we bring together top thought leaders from every facet of the online video landscape, from research firms and technologists to executives from brands, agencies, TV and online networks to debate and evaluate the solutions toward establishing cross-platform measurement standards.
More info + registration coming soon…
For sponsorship information: Mike Farina, VP Sales & Marketing: 203-218-6480
ON THIS DAY in 1984: Carl Lewis wins his second of four medals in the Summer Olympics.
Answer to Our Last Sports Trivia Question: Who was the first executive to oversee the NBA? Maurice Podoloff. Kudos: Doug Lipman-NBC Universal/NY; Sarah Galvin-Flashpoint Marketing/NY; Rich Dubroff-CSNBaltimore.com/Baltimore; Synda Kollman-Charter Marketing Group/Boca Raton; George Finkel-MegaSport Productions/Myrtle Beach; Jim Dittemore-I Will Race You/KC; Tom Moore-Kalt Productions/LA.
In The Know: Kobe Bryant scored his first NBA Championship after helping the Lakers beat which team? (Email Chris-Sports@cynopsis.com with your answer and be sure to include your name, company, city and time zone. Unofficial rules: Only the second four correct answers from each time zone will be mentioned; and once you’ve been mentioned in any of the Cynopsis editions, you can’t be mentioned again that calendar week.)
Later — Chris
Chris Pursell for Cynopsis | Sports
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