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NBC prepares marketing blitz for online viewing of Olympics

May 22, 2012|By Joe Flint
  • Carson Daly will help NBC's Olympic promotion effort.
Carson Daly will help NBC's Olympic promotion effort. (Lewis Jacobs / NBC )

BOSTON -- Looking to make consumers who subscribe to cable or satellite television aware that the bulk of the Summer Olympics can be watched online at no additional charge, NBC is going to embark on a large marketing campaign in advance of the London Games.

"There will be a barrage of information sent out to the American public about how one can access this content," said Gary Zenkel, president of NBC Olympics. Zenkel made his remarks during a panel session at the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. annual convention here.

Through the media industry's TV Everywhere initiative, most consumers can access content online provided they authenticate that they are already subscribers to a multichannel video programming distributor such as Time Warner Cable or Comcast.

But some consumers may not be aware that their cable subscription also gives them access to the Games online.

NBC has even recruited its late-night host Carson Daly to make promotional spots educating viewers about TV Everywhere.

Not all cable companies have been as aggressive as programmers would like in marketing TV Everywhere. NBC's Zenkel is hoping that the Olympics will provide a motivation for distributors to hype TV Everywhere.

"It will require a lot of consumer education," Zenkel said, adding that NBC is working with distributors on creating marketing messages that can be deployed on a national and local basis. The network will also use social networking platforms to alert viewers about online viewing options for the Olympics.

NBC's push to put more content online -- over 3,000 hours from the London Olympics this summer -- contradicts the previous school of thought at the network, which once feared that such a move might hurt the prime-time audience. Zenkel subscribes to the opposite theory and believes that the more content available online, the better the promotion and potential for a bigger evening audience.

"We will hold nothing back," Zenkel said. "Live streaming does not cannibalize the prime-time audience."

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