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NBCU Expects to Top $1.2B in Olympic Ad Sales

NBCUniversal said its ad sales for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo are pacing “significantly” ahead of the Rio Olympics.

The 2016 Rio Summer games drew $1.2 billion in advertising, and Dan Lovinger, executive VP for ad sales at NBC Sports Group, said the company “feels strongly” it will surpass that figure in Tokyo.

“We're closer to our goal at this point in both absolute dollars as well as percentage to goal.

And we expect to surpass that goal, and as you can imagine, our goal for Tokyo is higher than it was for Rio,” Lovinger said.

Price increases on a cost-per-thousand viewer basis are “in line with our expectations” and “driving us toward profitability,” he said.

Lovinger said that advertisers are interested in the unique scale and reach the Olympics offer.

The Olympics offer brand safe content, which is important to advertisers, he said.

“The games remain one of the few place where families and groups gather together to watch and root for the same time. In a world where media fragmentation is common, there are very few place to go for massive scale, reach and message memorability and the Olympics are at the top of a very short list,” he said.”

Big Olympic sponsors are committed to spending more on the Tokyo games than the have in the past, according to Lovinger. “Those that are committed to the Olympic movement are all in.”

Strong categories at this point include auto, travel, beverages, tech and financial services..

He said that some newer direct-to-consumer companies might become Olympic advertisers, following in the footsteps of Peleton and 23 and Me, which advertised during the PyongChang Winter Games.

In the coming weeks, NBCU executives will be travelling to Tokyo to see if some companies based there that usually do not advertise in the U.S. might be interested in buying commercials during the games.

This year NBCU is selling the Olympics and guaranteeing audience delivery on a metric that counts individual viewers whether they watch on broadcast, cable, digital or social. That helps give NBCU the flexibility to ensure that Olympic viewers are delivered to advertisers during the Games.

“With our Total Audience Delivery metric, also known as TAD, we measure Olympic consumption across all Olympic platforms,” Lovinger said.

Between all of its platforms, NBCU will be airing more than 7,000 hours of Olympic events. This year some live events will appear on NBCU’s Olympic Channel. Putting Olympic programming on the upcoming direct-to-consumer streaming service NBCU is developing is being discussed.

Lovinger noted that while there may be some erosion in primetime broadcast ratings, NBCU is more concerned in delivering the best viewing experience to as many people as possible, regardless of when where or how they watch.