After the Olympics, Back to Reality for NBC

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August 27th, 2008

For seventeen days we went with mostly adoring praise of the peacocks at NBC.  Sure, I whined about not showing the record-breaking Michael Phelps races live on the west coast, and sure Bill was 6,000 miles away without much access to bash on NBC.  We now resume our regularly scheduled programming...

Big events are big, and surely of value to both the network and the advertisers.  But the early data is in - there is no halo effect from running a big event for 17 days like the summer Olympic games in Beijing.

It makes a lot of sense to me.  For example, many people may not know that this year's Super Bowl will be broadcast on NBC.  But come Super Bowl Sunday, if they tune to Fox and don't see it, it's not like they're going to think: "Huh. It must not be on TV this year."

It doesn't work like that for big events.  People find them, wherever they may be on the dial. That isn't so much the case with regular programming that isn't a huge event.  So far, NBC has seen little-to-no halo effect from its Olympic promotion.  Deal or No Deal and the premiere of America's Toughest Jobs had decent, but not stellar ratings on Monday

Worse still, Tuesday's airing of America's Got Talent was the least-viewed airing all year.  People will not forget about the Olympics or the Super Bowl or where to find them.  But America's Got Talent?  Oooh, forgot about that.

Sure, the Super Bowl will be big, and The Office (which is scheduled to air after the game) will likely have its highest Nielsen ratings EVER.  But there isn't much to be made of special events other than knowing they're special and not very representative of what happens on all those "non special" nights.  Which, unfortunately for all the broadcast and cable networks is almost every night there is.

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