Monday, February 15, 2010

The Peacock Crows

NBC has every right to be concerned about the ongoing Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Some suggested before the games even began that the combination of a bad economy and NBC's own internal problems would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the network to recoup its $820 million investment. Then things got off to a rocky start, with an athlete killed in an Olympic practice run and a technical malfunction at the opening ceremonies.

But NBC can breathe a little easier after the weekend. Ratings turned out much better than expected, leading the network to believe that these games can become a money-maker. Experts say a strong showing over the next two weeks can help NBC reverse a difficult year and get it back on financial track.

As with most Olympics, the U.S. ratings are mostly about time zones. It was difficult for audiences to see any events in U.S. prime time when the games were in Torino, Italy in 2006. Just having events that can be broadcast live and in prime-time (especially in on the west coast) has already given NBC a larger audience for these Olympics than it ever had in Torino. Things should only get better for the network as the signature Olympics events (figure skating, hockey and downhill skiing) get underway.


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