NBCOlympics Wins Lead Medal: Only $6 Million In Olympic Video Ad Revenue

Two drawbacks of doing everything possible to protect your broadcast franchise:

  1. Infuriate sports fans who want to watch events live.
  2. Leave money on the table.

NBC only made $6 million in online video ad revenue, estimates eMarketer. This is a far cry from the $23 million CBS is said to have made from this year’s March Madness.

From NBC’s perspective, of course, the online revenue is couch change: The broadcast version of the Olympics generated more than $1 billion of revenue. And, thanks to rights exclusivity, infuriated sports fans don’t have too many other places to turn. (They do have some, though, thanks to the Internet–and they’ll almost certainly have more next time around.)

Bottom line, there are two important lessons to draw from these Games:

  1. Live online video does not cannibalise packaged TV evening broadcasts. So there is no reason for NBC not to stream everything live. In fact, in many cases, exciting events help build buzz for the evening broadcast throughout the day.
  2. Online video revenue, even for a once-every-four-years global sporting event–is still a rounding error. If web video moguls want to displace their TV counterparts in the cash flow game, they’re going to have to get cracking.

See Also: NBC’s Most Bewildering Decision Yet: Taped Basketball Final In Middle of Night

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