Back in the latter half of June, I asked a fairly simple question concerning NBCâ€™s Olympic foray on the Web:Â Will costs outweigh rewards? I imagined that the broadcaster might have to apply red tape to its cost-profit report. Perhaps a whole lot of it, even, particularly given the sheer volume of live and on-demand coverage promised to potential Web viewers. That being said, thereâ€™s a number now being floated byÂ eMarketerÂ concerning NBCâ€™s in-video advertising that seems remarkably small. A $5.75 million kind of small.
A report in todayâ€™sÂ Wall Street JournalÂ by Emily Steel references eMarketerâ€™s estimate on advertisement revenue to be tallied once all is played through and Beijing sends the last of its international guestlist back to their respective places of origin. The Internet researcher appears to lay some of the blame on NBCâ€™s strict delivery deal with Microsoft and the Silverlight plugin requirement. A number of participants in aÂ Mashable pollÂ made known their aversion to the plugin, so eMarketerâ€™s assessment could very well be accurate.
The Wall Street Journal notes that NBCOlympics.com usersâ€™ inability to view and share content across various external sites would limit the audience NBC might otherwise have attained. In fact, this clash of interests among NBC and Web users proved to be a notable issue, particularly in the area ofÂ YouTube, where a race to take down footage of Olympic games before they were broadcast in delayed-release on NBC stations drew the attention of the blogosphere as well as the mainstream press.
A sports advertising benchmark cited by the WSJ for the world of Web-streaming video was CBSâ€™s ability to garner someÂ $23 million in total revenueÂ throughout the three-week-long NCAA March Madness college basketball tournament. Do watch for the key words â€śtotal revenue,â€ť however. The presentation of in-video advertisements is only one part of the picture at NBCOlympics.com. (Albeit a sensibly important aspect of the entire portrait.)
The thing is, if CBS and NBC were to juxtapose viewerships, one would still see eMarketerâ€™s premonition as somewhat unfortunate. CBS offered a figure of 4.8 million viewers. NBC, meanwhile, claimed to have nearly as much in itsÂ opening day, withÂ 4.2m. And just this past Wednesday it issued a figure to the tune ofÂ 6.2m unique users.
Weâ€™ll certainly have to wait until events complete wrap up to offer a definitive take on the effect NBC Olympics has had. While I have voiced some negatives about NBCâ€™s online delivery of events, I think my initial impression – that the deal will be seen as an aid for the company – will be realized in the weeks ahead. Though maybe just barely.