NBC to show Winter Olympics in all time zones at same time

Phillip Butler
March 30, 2017

NBC is changing up how it will broadcast the Winter Olympics from PyeongChang, South Korea next year. NBCU will set guarantees using its Total Audience Delivery, a metric that blends broadcast and cable primetime deliveries with streaming data, for the first time during the Winter Olympics. But access to immediate results and highlights via smartphones and social media led to viewer frustration with NBC's make-'em-wait approach, even if it allowed room to tell the stories of the participants and theoretically build suspense. The prime time segment will be followed by local news in all time zones before a return to live coverage with Primetime Plus.

Speaking to reporters following an upfront presentation for the PyeongChang games at Rockefeller Center, NBC executives announced a shift in how they will sell advertising for the Olympics. The swimming schedule for last summer's Rio Olympics, for instance, was shaped to fit into NBC's prime-time window and departed from the normal routine swimmers are used to during major global competitions. The company has the TV and digital rights through 2032. But it is also due to an unusual shift of figure skating - one of the most popular Olympics sports for US television viewers - from evening to daytime.

Awards shows - which have become major drivers of traffic on social media - have increasingly moved to live telecasts across the country. Streaming of live video of Olympic action on NBC's apps reached 2.7 billion minutes, almost double the amount for all previous Games.

Tirico made his Olympics debut last summer at Rio, dipping a toe in with an NBC daytime hosting gig and serving as host of the closing ceremony. This will be the first time this has been done since the Games were first broadcast on television in the late 1960's.

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