NBC, which had previously forecast a windfall north of $1B from its February broadcasts of Super Bowl LII and the 18-day Winter Olympics, now expects the influx to reach nearly $1.4B. That figure includes a likely record-setting day of revenue in the area of $500 million for the big game on Feb. 4 and lead-out This Is Us.
The projections came from Dan Lovinger, EVP of ad sales for NBC Sports Group, during a media conference call this afternoon.
Fewer than 10 spots–at north of $5M for 30 seconds–remain available for the Super Bowl, Lovinger said. Category-wise, the mix is “fairly traditional,” he noted. Automotive and movie studios are once again “strong and well-represented.”
While angst continues among TV programmers over transformations of the viewing environment and the vulnerability of advertising, Lovinger said Feb. 4 will be a day when those concerns will subside.
“The value of live is evident. We see that in all of our sports,” Lovinger said. “What’s also incredibly valuable is big ratings. … Advertisers do clamor for those opportunities. The Super Bowl is communal viewing and there’s social amplification that goes on.”
Earlier this week at TCA, producers addressed NBC’s plans to show any protests live as they happen. Lovinger said no advertisers had expressed concerns or taken a pass on the game due to the protests. “All we have seen is enthusiasm,” he said. “The game itself almost transcends the season.”
While this NFL season has seen experimentation with everything from 6-second ads to picture-in-picture spots designed to retain viewers tempted to switch channels, Lovinger said the opposite trend is taking shape for the big game.
“There’s more interest in long-form than in short-form,” he said. “You’ll see more long-form than you have in any other game.” While final spots won’t be submitted for a couple more weeks, he said based on storyboards and concepts evaluated by the ad sales team, “Advertisers are actually stepping up.”
In terms of the Olympics from PyeongChang, South Korea, Lovinger said measurements of viewer intent to watch are “at or above where Sochi was at this time four years ago. … We’re just starting to turn our marketing spigot on.”
NBC was surprised by the linear-digital shift that happened during the Rio Games–live linear ratings plunged by double digits, yet the company reported record profit overall on the games due to breadth and strength in digital.
One reason was that 30% of Rio viewing came via connected TVs, up from zero in Sochi, given that connected TVs basically didn’t exist in 2014.
“The definition of digital has almost become irrelevant,” Lovinger said. The only question that matters, he added, is “are they viewing our content?'”
In the past, Lovinger said, guarantees to advertisers that a spot would reach a total of 1M viewers would include strict breakdowns of how many would come via TV and how many via digital. Today, NBC makes the process more elastic, so that teams can call audibles and serve ads where the most viewing is occurring. The approach “allows us to take advantage of viewer habits,” he said. “The Olympics tend to lead these changes in viewing.”