2008 Olympic Games Record-Setting Viewership: What This Means for Advertisers

The 2008 Olympic Games is now officially the most watched television event in history.

“It’s been a cultural phenomenon,” said Alan Wurrtzel, president, research and media development of NBC Universal. “I can’t think of another instance where the country so universally gets behind an event and shares it like they have with Beijing, not with the widespread fragmentation we see today.”

Media buyers get a big surprise… NBC’s national prime-time ratings were through the roof. They exceeded the guaranteed ratings of 14.5 media experts were expecting by 10 percent. And it hasn’t stopped there. Even after the Games began on August 8, NBC was able to secure an additional $30 million in ad revenue, according to NBC Olympic President Gary Zenkel.

Internet as part of strategy. In addition to the television coverage, NBC included the Internet as part of its overall marketing strategy. The plan was to stream 2,200 hours of live footage on NBCOlymics.com. NBC Reports state the site received 46.2 million hits from unique users and represented eight million hours of online video viewing.

From a business standpoint, the NBC network and NBCOlympics.com achieved Olympic success.

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DRTV: A Cost-Effective Advertising Solution

DRTV is quickly becoming one of the hottest options available for advertisers seeking affordable branding alternatives. The key to success using a DRTV campaign is to rely heavily on the promotion of a quality product.

Maybe it goes without saying, but promoting an inferior product will do much more harm than good.  DRTV remains an affordable advertising option for many companies during a looming recession. In fact, the low cost of creating a DRTV spot has even spurred mainstream companies to allocate advertising dollars for DRTV spots.

Successful DRTV campaigns artfully combine testimonials, product/technical descriptions and a call to action. Many infomercials receive thousands of orders within minutes of airing the ad.

Fortune 500 companies are running brand commercials and adding an 800 number and or website in order to purchase media time more cost effectively, which is why infomercials can be so effective for these type of advertisers.

It’s true. Both broadcast and cable networks are able to sell DRTV slots well below normal rates. Sometimes these spots can be bought for less than one-third of the regular rate – especially if the network is motivated to fill any unsold slots.

Tobe Berkovitz, a Boston University professor, makes an interesting observation about the economic climate’s effect on DRTV: “It seems there’s a direct correlation…the worse the economy is, the more active DRTV becomes.”

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