Thursday, October 27, 2016
  • Friday, Aug. 12, 2016
NBC's Lazarus Says Olympics Are Big Hit On Ad, Audience, Streaming Fronts
United States' Michael Phelps celebrates winning the gold medal in the men's 200-meter individual medley during the swimming competitions at the 2016 Summer Olympics, Thursday, Aug. 11, 2016, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
  • --

The chief of NBC Sports said Thursday the Rio Games are a huge hit and that he doesn't anticipate having to make concessions to advertisers.

While NBC's prime-time viewership for the Rio games hasn't reached the levels of London 2012, the dip has been offset by increases in people streaming content to their mobile devices or watching on cable networks like Bravo and NBCSN, said Mark Lazarus, chairman of the NBC Sports Group. He expects there to be more streamed content from Rio than for all of the previous Olympics combined.

"The Olympics are dominating the media landscape," Lazarus said.

Despite social media complaints about the number of commercials for the opening ceremony, Lazarus said there were actually fewer commercials shown that night than for the London festivities. NBC did front-load many of the commercials early in the broadcast in more frequent breaks.

After a disastrous start for the opening ceremony and first night of competition, NBC viewership picked up with the success of the U.S. swimmers and gymnasts.

Often a failure to live up to promised viewing levels results in "make-goods," or advertisers being offered free time. But Lazarus said advertisers will leave the game getting what they paid for, and that NBC has sold an additional $30 million in advertising time since the games started. Before the start, NBC said it had sold $1.2 billion in advertising time.

Viewership has met NBC's expectations, "it's just the mix is a little different," he said.

"Rio 2016 is a huge hit," Lazarus said. "We are aggregating audiences at a scale that no one has ever seen before."