Mark Lazarus

NBC Medals in Prime-Time Ratings, but Misses Out on Gold

Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, Usain Bolt and Simone Biles all struck gold at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio.

NBC Execs ‘Cautiously Optimistic’ Rio Olympics Will Be a Success Despite Concerns

As NBCUniversal prepares to broadcast and stream 6,755 hours of Olympics coverage in August, company executives said they are "cautiously optimistic" that the Summer Games would go smoothly despite concerns over environmental, economic and safety issues in Rio de Janeiro.

Lazarus: NBC Broke Even on Olympics

Having tallied up all the advertising dollars that poured into its coffers during the 2012 London Summer Olympics, NBC on Thursday announced it broke even on the Games. Speaking at the Bloomberg Sports Business Summit in New York, Mark Lazarus, chairman of NBC Sports Group, said the Olympic credits and debits all balanced out rather nicely. “From a financial point of view the Games, on a discrete basis, were a break-even proposition for us,” Lazarus said, adding that the result was “far healthier…than we had planned on going in.” NBC approached the 17-day extravaganza anticipating a $200 million net loss. Once NBC freed up the inventory it had salted away for make-goods, fears of ending up in the red evaporated. All told, the network booked north of $1 billion in ad inventory, atop which it sprinkled nearly $300 million in affiliate and digital revenue. Rights fees and production costs ate up approximately $1.28 billion. Lazarus suggested that it may be too soon to assess the long-term impact of the Summer Games, which drew 219.4 million total viewers, making it the most-watched event in U.S. television history. “In terms of the enterprise value to NBCUniversal, that discrete break-even does not take into account the halo effect and what it did for the ratings (short-term and ongoing) for our news division, for our late night group, for our discussions with MVPDs [read: operators] and for our affiliate groups,” Lazarus said. “On the whole the Olympics is a very good business for us.” NBC used the Olympics as a platform to preview two fall comedies, and as expected, the broadcasts earned a good deal of sampling. The commercial-free launch of the Matthew Perry vehicle Go On delivered 16.1 million viewers and a 5.6 rating in the 18-to-49 demo on August 8, while the Animal Practice pilot scared up 12.8 million viewers and a 4.1 in the demo. As NBC gets set to premiere four new comedies and the dramas Revolution and Chicago Fire, the network already got a taste of some fall GRPs. Despite competition from Bill Clinton and the Democratic National Convention, last night’s NFL Kickoff game delivered 23.9 million total viewers and a 9.7 in the demo, making it the third most-watched season opener since NBC began airing prime time football. Sunday Night Football is now the highest-rated program on TV. Last season, NBC’s prime time package averaged 20.7 million viewers and an 8.0 in the dollar demo. That sort of reach doesn’t come cheap. Per SQAD data, a 30-second spot during the 2011 edition of SNF cost a cool $470,000. (Buyers said the unit cost was as high as $500,000 a pop depending on placement.)

NBC: Twitter Beefs No Match for the ‘Silent Majority’

NBC on Thursday offered a first look at some of its newly mined Olympics usage research, and as has been the case with the prime-time TV ratings, the digital stats are trending ahead of the Beijing Games.

Game of Thrones: NBC’s Olympic Ratings Momentum Unstoppable

NBC’s coverage of the 2012 London Olympics continues to deliver huge ratings, topping the Beijing numbers for the fourth night in a row.

London 2012: NBC on Record Ratings Pace

Despite all the agita over NBC’s coverage of the 2012 London Olympic Games, fans continue to tune in to the prime-time broadcasts in record numbers.

NBC Scores With U.S. Olympic Team Trials

If the ratings for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials are any indication, NBC is on track to put up some huge deliveries in London.

NBC’s $1 Billion Olympics Sellout

With exactly one month to go before the Opening Ceremonies of the London 2012 Summer Olympic Games, NBC is on track to book nearly $1 billion in ad sales revenue for the 17-day event.

Ebersol Returns to NBC as NFL, Olympics Consultant

It appears that Dick Ebersol’s exile from 30 Rock will be rather short-lived, as NBC’s former Olympics guru is rejoining the fold as a special advisor to NBC Sports Group president Mark Lazarus.

Versus Rebranded NBC Sports Network

Months after Dick Ebersol revealed plans to discard the Versus brand, NBC Sports Group is preparing a Viking funeral for it.