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Aug 25, 2008

Web Audience for Games Soars for NBC and Yahoo

Web Audience for Games Soars for NBC and Yahoo

Published: August 24, 2008

A slide show from the Web showed Bryan Clay, the gold medal winner in the men’s decathlon.

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...The ratings for NBC’s television coverage of the Games were record-breaking this month. But the extent to which the Internet served as a supplement to television was unprecedented, and there were two clear winners: NBC’s own Web site and Yahoo’s Olympics section.

Benefiting from the growth in broadband Internet access, NBCOlympics.com served up more than 1.2 billion pages and 72 million video streams through Saturday, more than doubling the combined traffic to its site during the 2004 Games in Athens and the 2006 Games in Turin. The popularity of the site will very likely make digital rights more significant in next year’s bidding for the 2014 and 2016 Games....

NBC, as the holder of United States rights to the Olympics, was the sole source for online video and the only media organization that could use the Olympics logos. But Yahoo, which offered a feature-oriented mix of news stories and slide shows, gave NBC a run for its online advertising money, or at least audience, attracting just as many visitors, according to Nielsen.

“The demand that we’re seeing has far exceeded even our wildest expectations,” said Jimmy Pitaro, the head of sports and entertainment for Yahoo.

Olympics sites operated by AOL, ESPN, Sports Illustrated, the Beijing Organizing Committee, The New York Times, and USA Today also had high levels of traffic, according to Nielsen. They differentiated themselves from the NBC site by offering slice-of-life features and entertainment stories. (The top Olympic story on Yahoo this month was, “Why divers always take showers.”)

NBC cites statistics that show its site had a clear advantage over Yahoo’s. But Nielsen Online’s numbers show that Yahoo drew an average of 4.7 million unique visitors a day through Aug. 18, compared with 4.3 million for NBC. The third-ranked site, AOL’s Olympics section, had 1.3 million visitors a day.

NBC treated the Olympics like a research laboratory, and it says it is gleaning information about how people preferred to consume content from its combination of television, online and mobile offerings. (Critics charge that because the network did not stream the most popular sporting events live, its findings are skewed.) Regardless, the network is using the Olympics to assert that TV is the preferred medium of consumers, with the vast majority of viewing — 93 percent — done via television...

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.

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