Live Blogging: NBC Conference Call on Olympics Ratings and Total Audience Measurement Index

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August 13th, 2008

I'm going to try an experiment with "live blogging" the NBC conference call on Olympic ratings and TAMi (total audience measurement index).

11:04 PDT. On hold, listening to music, hoping my iPhone's battery doesn't die midway through the call, assuming it starts. They were supposed to release some summary information on the press website prior to the call (which was scheduled to start at 11:00 PDT/2pm EDT).

11:05 PDT Call begins. They are in Beijing...

11:06 Gary Zenkel  "It's an incredibly excting time for us and the results have been phenomenal. Gary '96 one network, 171 hours, Athens 7 channels, including Spanish language. Goal to more broadly distributed, but never imagined where today. 7 channels, every viable digital platform and online. 25 live sports, thousands of hours of on-demand coverage and finally realizing dream of complete coverage of the 32 olympic events.

The other thing the strategy allows us to do is to catch up to what the tech allows -- user choices. In Athens there was concern of too much coverage, but it proved to be the opposite, the more coverage we put out there the more buzz and interest and the more viewers for primetime. We are seeing the same thing with digital (driving primetime viewers).

It's confirming the strength of network television. THe network primetime numbers are outstanding. we're fairly certain multiplatform however you consume is fueling the interest and driving primetime viewing. everything has changed, and really nothing has changed. they're gathering in front of the television set.

11:11 Alan Wurtzel: I refer to the olympics as a billion dollar research lab. We felt we'd be able to measure for the first time the way full distribution work. television, internet and mobile. We were going to use to learn how its used to maximize the way we present content.

11:13 -- talking about TAMi. Olympics best way to test. They want to use TAMi everywhere for entertainment programming, news and sports starting in September

11:15 TAMi measures exposure -- it's not a currency for ad sales. It's NOT the Nielsen cum number. It's not an unduplicated reach number. We want to see duplication, it's the notion that people will use various platforms on various occasions the more duplication the better. We use Nielsen, Omniture (web), were using VOD info, and mobile tracking. We are combining a variety of different measures.

(they are referring to numbers supposedly on the web site, but I don't see this yet!)

11:16 rolling -- some of the data comes in late (like VOD) but will be released daily, beginning today, but we'll update. It could be that data for Sunday will change as new data comes in.

On Friday the 8th, 70.1mm tv exposure. 4.2 million uniques online. 210K mobile, 36,400 VOD users. Total Tami 74.6mm (includes duplicates)

OK, I have the data now: http://nbcumv.com/special/Olympics_TAMi_08112008.pdf

11:20 TV still the mother ship. We should never forget that broadcast television alone is still extraordinarily powerful, 93% of the progressive cume number is from NBC broadcast net. Nothing else can accumulate an audience of this scale. Online from 4.2 million Friday to 7.8 million Monday -- happy with the growth.

Driving video 1.) catching up on missed events. 40% use the video to revisit the major events they'd seen on TV users. Corporate line on Internet not cannabilizing broadcast network. 1.7 million video streams of the 4x100 relay and 1.5 million streams were shared of that via social networks.

11:22: Happy with Mobile and use of new tech. When it comes to mobile what we've found is so far is that HALF the people using Mobile are using it for the first time. Looking to see if they will keep using afterwards.

VOD still tiny as you can see.

On pace to even outperform Atlanta olympics - absolutely extraordinary. The other interesting thing, ROI for advertisers. We charge a lot of money for it and we want to justify the premium we're charging. We used IAG to measure advertising effectiveness, brand recall, etc., we looked at all the commercials that have run and compared them to conventional primetime: brand recall increases of up to 85% vs normal primetime and. message recall up as much as 50% and ad likability scores upwards of 80% higher than typical primetime. Halo effect from olympics for advertisers.

Question from David Bauder of AP - asking for impact of Michael Phelps.

Response: Who? (joke, haha). No way to measure it. #1 video is 4x100 freestyle. If you look at page views, the most popular athlete is Michael. The biggest viewers are for Michael. But the olympics are more than Michael Phelps. A win-win. He's dominant, and a great driver of interest. They come for Michael, but stay for other stuff which is terrific.

Saul Hansel: New York Times: asking about online restrictions.

Not clear on what your question is. Are you asking if online isn't giving everything you want?

Saul: why not simulcast online, everything and live? Presumably it will cannibalize broadcast but you say that's not happening.

Response: First of all, approx 90% are consuming the olympics only on TV. 10% both. 2/10th of 1% are consuming ONLY on the olympics. If we simulcast, would that change? I don't think so. People want to see the best viewinge experience. If you can watch in HD on the big screen. Rights issues come into play, but I don't know.

Brian Stelter: NY Times: Question about mobile uniques how many are video vs pageviews.

response; yes, we have this info but didn't want to confuse. 9.5 million page views via Mobile, I don't have the mobile video streams available but can get you that info.

Jennifer Davies asks: San Diego was the top metered market for opening ceremonies can you explain why the olympics are stronger in some markets than others.

Response: San Diego is among top markets, many west coast markets wind up being huge markets where they are well above average. I can't say why they are more interested but it's a consistent trend.

Barry Horn Dallas Morning News: In 2012 what will be new.

Alan W: Each of the platforms will be bigger. Mobile will be far more significant. I think the big 800 pound gorilla will remain network television. the more things change the more they stay the same. Golden age of media. In the new environment they don't give up one medium for another, they use them together in a very complimentary fashion. I think we're going to learn how to provide a better Internet experience and more compelling.

By the way this isn't just to wait until 2010 and 2012 we want to take these learnings and provide them to traditional programming.

John D. Variety: NBC is gold standard, how are the cable networks doing are they showing huge increases?

Alan W: yes, double and triple digit increases. MSNBC update leading into NBC primetime, about 83% who finished watching the program from 5p-7pm stayed for Chris Matthews, similar with CNBC. Its giving these channels a chance to promote themselves.

Greg Johnson: LA Times 10% are consuming both TV and Internet is it different dayparts?

that was based on weekend data we need to update it. 28% on Tuesday said they have watched more on TV because it was available on mobile and Internet. We do want to understand who is sitting watching TV with a laptop on the lap. who is moving from one room to next.

Question: how widely will TAMi be used in the fall

Alan W: do not recommend TAMi be used as a currency. I'll be happy when it's retired and we have a good way to measure one person across all platforms. It will be available for every show in the fall. We'll have it for every Heroes episode, etc.

Question: WHat kind of boost are you getting because of live events.

Alan W: the time difference is hell on us here in Beijing. it definitely helps. but there is a lot going on. a lot of momentum via word of mouth from huge opening ceremonies -- very viral -- people just talking to each other, opening ceremonies was a home run. A significant cultural event that the culture is sharing and you almost never get that anymore.

11:45 call ends.  I'll get a separate post up with the TAMi data.

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