NBCUniversal is already out to advertisers with Olympic make-goods as ratings for its Opening Ceremony in Tokyo hit its lowest levels in more than three decades and fell short of the broadcaster's guarantees to advertisers.
With 16.7 million people tuning in to watch Friday’s Opening Ceremony across NBC's linear channel, website and apps and Peacock streaming service, according to preliminary numbers provided by NBCU, the event went down as the least-viewed since the Seoul Games’ opener in 1988.
As a result of those viewer returns, which a media buyer says fell “definitely below” NBCU’s ratings guarantees, the entertainment giant began calling around this weekend about make-goods, which gives advertisers additional ad time to make up for any ratings shortfalls. Make-goods are certainly common in events like the Olympics, which is something NBCU also faced during the 2016 Summer Games in Rio.
Viewership for the three-hour, spectator-free ceremony in Japan was down 36% compared to Rio's opening, which was watched by 26.5 million viewers. The London Games in 2012 drew 40.7 million viewers. Of course, both of those games happened before the advent of Peacock and surge in streaming.
The viewership drop recorded during this year’s Opening Ceremony, which began airing on Friday morning at 7 a.m. on the East Coast and 4 a.m. out West, was not entirely unexpected amid the pandemic, which has brought universal ratings declines for everything from the Super Bowl to Hollywood award shows.