Date: 15th September 2000

Can NBC Bring Home The Gold

The Australian setting for this year's summer Olympics may prove to be the undoing of NBC, analysts warned Thursday on the eve of the opening ceremonies. (The decision to start the games in September in order to escape the Australian winter will result in the telecasts facing sports competition from baseball's pennant race and the start of the football season. The 12-15-hour time difference between Australia and the U.S. will force the telecasts to be delayed; viewers accessing newscasts on rival networks, radio broadcasts, the Internet and even newspapers are likely to learn the results of competition before they are aired.) Some analysts questioned whether NBC was wise in guaranteeing advertisers an 18.1 rating. "I think (NBC) could have a problem getting to the 18.1 rating, media buyer Paul Schulman told Bloomberg News on Thursday. However, other analysts pointed out that the Olympics could provide an intangible benefit for NBC. Belo Corp.'s Jack Sander, whose company owns four NBC stations, told today's (Friday) Wall Street Journal: "I think the key is that (the games) swing the momentum back toward NBC," Sander said. "CBS and ABC have had a nice little roll here between Survivor and Millionaire, so I think that this will kind of put NBC back in the forefront, where it hasn't been for a little while."

Source: Studio Briefing