That’s the problem when a free-to-air network spends $1.23 billion on TV rights for the Olympic Games, they have to earn that cash back – and make a profit. The 2016 Rio opening ceremony, at 4.5 hours, seemed to some commentators on social media that NBC was attempting to break broadcasting records by airing more than 60 minutes of commercials in one hour!
Another wit said that NBC was bringing home the Gold medal in the number of commercials aired. Yet another said “This has been an Opening Commercials to remember” and that NBC now should stand for “Nothing But Commercials”.
Others alleged that NBC was showing commercials every five minutes. Another said that if it were not for the 50 McDonalds ads already shown, they would never have known about the fast-food chain.
Trade magazine Variety tried to introduce a little common sense into the investment vs revenue equation, reminding readers that NBC has guaranteed to pay a massive $7.75 billion for the Olympic summer and winter games through to 2032, and while NBCU’s CEO Steve Burke happily stated in July that these would be the “most profitable Olympics in history”, he might want to re-think how the pesky commercials might be playing havoc with its viewer ratings.