The London 2012 Olympic Games are history and the biggest surprise winner may have been NBC. The television network paid more than $1 billion for the rights to broadcast an event that would take place in the early mornings in the US, would be heavily discussed all day long on social media, and would still have to be interesting enough hours later to attract prime-time audiences in sufficient numbers to pay that billion-dollar bill.
How’d it go? The just-released television ratings show that in the last week of the Olympics NBC had the eight top-rated broadcasts. A quarter of all the televisions watched in prime time were tuned to NBC. The Games drew nearly 220 million viewers, and NBC sold about $1.25 billion in advertising, a gold-medal-winning performance.
How’d they pull that off in a media world dominated by status updates, competitive cooking shows and mindless reality TV? NBC was smart, and did some things that both media and marketers should think about when they strategize about social sharing.
The Bronze Medal Lesson: Ask for Something
This Olympics featured live video streams like never before — every sport, all-day coverage. What a great way to draw viewers who favor some of the less-popular events. My own athletic addiction is rowing, so I was right there on the first morning of the regatta eager to watch online. But wait: Gotta sign up. Give us your information. And, here’s a new one: Prove you pay us something through your cable provider. My reward after all that was to watch a commercial.