The tepid television ratings of the recently concluded Olympics have disappointed the advertisers. The NBC’s ratings clocked in much lower than expected last week — their first dip since the 2000 Games.
Worse, the missing chunk of TV viewers were more likely to be valuable young people many of whom migrated to NBC’s digital streaming options. That led to a dramatically bigger-than-expected audience online, where the network charged almost double the per-impression rate of television. The digital boost, however, isn’t enough to fill the hole left in the TV ratings. It’s possible that Olympics news and footage circulating on real-time social networks like Snapchat and Twitter and the immediacy of news alerts diluted the appetite for actually watching the games. Forrester advertising analyst Samantha Merlivat said brands will need to rethink how they advertise around live events in order to rope together the same sized audience across different platforms.
Merlivat said, it’s becoming clear that even live sports audiences are fragmenting across viewing source and devices and the brands need to push TV planning beyond linear to re-aggregate audiences, stitching together audiences across platforms. As far as advertisers are concerned, it’s still impossible to beat the giant reach of big televised live events. But the decline does seem to be a clear sign that even television’s most important institutions aren’t safe as the medium is gradually swallowed by the internet.