NBC Doesn’t Have Much Incentive to Change Its Olympics Coverage

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NBC has heard the Internet-based complaints about its Olympics coverage, and it has responded. Bad — but obvious — news for those unhappy with TV tape delays and glitchy, paywalled online streaming: The network, which paid $4.4 billion for the U.S. rights to Games through 2020, probably won't be making drastic changes to its coverage anytime soon.

In a conference call with reporters, NBC Sports chairman Mark Lazarus said that he wouldn't "rule anything out," and allowed that "the media landscape is going to change" between now and the 2016 Rio Games. However, he added that while executives have read and listened to the objections, they believe they are coming from "a very loud minority," while "the silent majority has been with us for the first six days." NBC research president Alan Wurtzel backed him up with a 1,000-viewer survey that he said "showed those who heard about event results beforehand were more likely to tune into prime-time coverage."

Of course, the network doesn't have much reason to truly respond to criticism, given what have so far been record ratings and the growing chance that NBC — once predicted to lose $200 million on the Olympics — could actually "make a little bit of money" this year. After all, the TV-focused system is nothing if not advertiser-friendly.