NBCU Touts New Metrics for Ads During Olympic Games

Beijing Winter Olympics 2022
(Image credit: NBCUniversal)

NBCUniversal, which has been active in the search for alternatives to Nielsen for audience measurement, is touting some metrics that could encourage its Olympic advertisers.

The fancy metrics show that NBC’s coverage of the Beijing Winter Olympics has fewer commercials and that those commercials are working hard, the kind of data NBCU believes is important to companies writing big checks to sponsor the games.

The traditional counting of total viewers, even using NBCU’s Total Audience Delivery metric combining data from Nielsen and Oracle to capture all TV audiences, pointed to a 43% drop in viewing, compared to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics four years ago.

At a time when ratings are falling and cord-cutting is rampant, the decline is not a big surprise.

Also: NBCU Taps iSpot as First Cross-Platform TV Measurement Alternative to Nielsen

But according to one of the newer measurement companies NBCU is working with, iSpot.TV, Olympic primetime programming has a 14% lighter ad load than other primetime shows. At the same time, the Olympics are delivering 247% more ad impressions per unit than the three other big broadcast networks.

Those commercials are being watched all the way through. iSpot, which measures ads on a second-second basis, is telling NBCU that commercials within the Olympics have a 98% completion rate. That translates into a 13% lower ad interruption rate than ads on all TV programming.

iSpot also said the top-performing ad pod on February 4 happened at 9:41 p.m. ET as skater Karen Chen was getting off the ice. The ad most liked by consumers was for Delta.

The Olympics had a 23.01% share of voice on February 5, despite competition from the NHL All-Star Game, a Duke-North Carolina college basketball game, and an NBA game featuring LeBron James’ return after an injury. The Olympics nearly doubled the No. 2 telecast in terms of share of voice.

Data from two other measurement companies, Phoenix and EDO showed that for Olympic advertisers, brand recall and message memorability were up 53% and 70% versus norms for broadcast and cable ads. 

Ad likeability was 88% higher than norms and there was a 39% greater likelihood to search for brands that advertisers in the primetime Opening Ceremony. During the Tokyo Olympics, the likelihood to search was 20% higher and in Korea it was 32% higher, according to EDO. ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.