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NBC Predicts Pyeongchang Ad Sales Will Surpass Sochi

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NBC is continuing its efforts to alleviate any concerns in the ad community over the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

The peacock met with advertisers on Wednesday as part of its upfronts tour to highlight opportunities for clients, which include coast-to-coast live coverage, beefed up Snapchat partnership and a move to include digital viewing in ad guarantees.

NBC Universal was caught off guard during the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. After making bullish predictions regarding viewership of the games, the media giant found that it hadn't fully accounted for the rapid change in TV viewership habits with more consumption moving online.

It was yet another signal of how complex it is to find audiences, especially younger ones, and deliver those viewers to advertisers.

Speaking to press on Wednesday afternoon, Dan Lovinger, exec VP-advertising sales, NBC Sports Group, said ad sales for the Winter Games are pacing ahead of where they were four years ago leading into the Sochi games. And as NBCU sells viewership consumption across all dayparts and platforms, Mr. Lovinger predicts ad sales in Pyeongchang will surpass that of Sochi.

NBC announced on Tuesday that it will air its primetime coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics live across the U.S. for the first time since the Games became a must-watch TV event in the 1960s.

This is an important move as increasingly viewers know the results of the Games before they ever air on TV.

NBC previously told Ad Age that instead of guaranteeing audiences for advertisers based on a household rating, which is how ad inventory in the games is typically sold, it will now also account for the viewing that is taking place beyond the linear screen when selling commercial time. NBCU will set guarantees using its Total Audience Delivery, a metric that blends broadcast and cable primetime deliveries with streaming data, for the first time during the Winter Olympics. It will do this by selling a cumulative P2-plus rating (persons aged two or more) across all platforms.

While Mr. Lovinger acknowledged on the call that NBC's primetime broadcast is still the most important component, "the day of it being the sole metric is over."

NBCU is also looking to capitalize on its new agreement with Snapchat that is expected to help push its ad revenue from social to more than eight figures.

Mr. Lovinger said NBCU's deal with Snapchat was struck too close to the Rio Games to fully capitalize on advertising opportunities.

It will once again work with BuzzFeed to co-produce content for Snapchat. Ad packages will include Snap Ads and national Geofilters and Lenses.

NBCU said nearly 35 million Snapchatters in the U.S. consumed NBC's Rio Olympic coverage.