Olympic ratings are down — 17 percent total — , especially in the prized 18-49 demographic –25 percent. According to Bloomberg News Steve Burke — the chief executive officer of NBCUniversal — worst nightmare was ““We wake up someday and the ratings are down 20 percent.” I guess we need to say this clearly because this shouldn’t be a surprise: the old days of huge ratings for marquee events are over. They aren’t coming back. TV ratings will continue to dip as more people cut the cord. Here’s what really need to happen, the sports media industry needs stop blaming millennials and start realizing streaming is their new market.
NBC is now on the hook for a bunch of free advertising. That’s what happens when media companies don’t meet their advertising goals — read: guarantees — promised to their partners. NBC had to know what was happening. Think about the large events that have recently happened. Every big event the past year has had lower ratings due to cord cutters and millennials. That doesn’t mean the Olympics weren’t the highest rated programming comparable to other programming, but to think ratings would match historical numbers in this entertainment climate was a pipe-dream.
Instead of blaming millennials, how about catering to them. Sure TV ratings were down, but streaming numbers were up. It is time to shift focus. The streaming numbers didn’t make up for the TV ratings drop. If this trend continues, advertisers won’t want to pay big money for advertising spots. Without those advertising fees, the TV rights deal will be a fiscal disaster. At worst, rights holders will have to give away free spots. Sound familiar?
That’s why this whole thing should not be shocking to NBC, Bloomberg, Fields of Green Readers, or anyone not living under a rock. Ratings will continue to trend down as people continue to stream and cut the cord. Blaming millennials is essentially the old man yelling at the clouds. There’s not much anyone can do to change it. It’s happening. This isn’t a shock.