London 2012: Primetime TV Will Rule Over Digital For Years, Says NBC Olympics EP Jim Bell
The man in charge of the network's London 2012 coverage says that the Games remain one of the few great television events.
NBC is quite proud and vocal of its monumental effort to broadcast every single event at this summer's London Olympics on its website and mobile apps, but that doesn't mean they're abandoning their core business of big events and big ratings on primetime. Still, given the fact that their online efforts represent a major technological and paradigm jump from 2008's games in Beijing, a cordless future for the broadcasts seems closer than ever, right?
Not so fast, says NBC Olympics Executive Producer Jim Bell. NBC dropped $4.38 billion on four more summer games past London, and the Today Show chief sees television remaining a vital component of their plans -- with more sway and prominence than online viewing.
"I think we're going to get there at some point. I don't know if it'll be '16 or '20," Bell said, showing some skepticism. "For all the talk about the second screen and the digital and the livestream, and those are hugely important advances and priorities for us, but primetime is still also very important to us. And I don't think that's going to change any time soon. What we've seen is the incremental revenue on the digital side, which has been great, but the broadcasting side is still really healthy."
On Wednesday, NBC announced that they had sold over $1 billion in ads across their platforms, which includes six television stations and their online properties.
"The appetite for big events on broadcast television still exists, whether it's Monday Night Football or it's the Oscars or the Golden Globes or the Olympics, I don't know that it's a zero-sum game," Bell added. "I sure hope not. And whether that time is going to be '16 or '20, I think we'll know a lot more on August 13 of 2012 than we do right now, on July 26."