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NBC Universal Takes Gold at Olympics: Ad Sales Reach $1B

1 Aug, 2012 By: Doug McPherson

LONDON – Athletes aren’t the only winners at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. NBC Universal reports it has topped the $1 billion mark in ad sales. That’s $150 million more than what it took home at the 2008 Beijing games.

The media giant claims it has secured about $50 million in advertising orders since reporting a few weeks ago that its Olympics sales had reached around $950 million, Ad Age reports.

The $1 billion includes ad sales of all NBC Universal outlets airing the games. Those are: NBC, NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, Telemundo,, the NBC Olympics Live Extra mobile and tablet app, two specialty channels, and the first-ever 3-D channel. NBC Universal is live-streaming every athletic competition – more than 3,500 hours, including all 32 sports and all 302 medals – on and, for the first time, on the NBC Olympics Live Extra app for both mobile devices and tablets.

NBC admits that more digital inventory put the company at the $1 billion threshold. Digital ad sales this year toppped $60 million, about three times more than the total for Beijing. National TV ad sales for London make up most of the rest – about $950 million.

Why the big numbers this year? Some say there’s new interest in the Olympics because of technology companies and their new products. Analysts say the Olympics are key for NBC Universal because its owner, Comcast, is seeking to make the company more of a powerhouse in sports coverage. Plus, NBC Universal has already said it intends to use the Olympics to promote the new fall lineup on the company’s broadcast unit.

NBC reportedly still has inventory for the event, and has said it often holds ad time back to accommodate last-minute advertisers who take a wait-and-see tact of initial ratings. Nielsen reports the 2012 opening ceremony garnered the highest ratings ever for an Olympics opener held outside the U.S., notching a 23 rating and a 40 share, up 7 percent from the 2008 games.

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