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NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell: ‘It Could Be The Most Profitable Olympics In Our Company’s History’

Michael King

NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell is genuinely excited about event programming over the coming months for both their linear networks as well as on their streaming service Peacock.

Shell spoke to investors virtually late Monday morning at the CreditSuisse Communications Conference.

Event coverage all starts with the now-delayed 2020 Summer Olympic Games next month, followed very quickly by coverage of the NFL season, leading up to Super Bowl LVI in Los Angeles next February. And this year, the Super Bowl will fall during the middle of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games, so the eyes of the entire world will already be on NBC and its sister networks.

While many people were concerned with the delays that overtook the Summer Games last year due to the pandemic, NBCUniversal was able to take advantage of the delay by continuing to program returning sporting events through the fall and winter months, including the Indianapolis 500 in August and races of the Triple Crown through the Fall. Many of the sporting events were cross-promoted and programmed on its streaming platform, Peacock.

The delay has allowed the group to prepare for what they have promised is 7,000 hours of Olympic programming across its linear networks and Peacock during the Tokyo Summer Games.

Peacock

Peacock is a subscription video streaming service from NBCUniversal that gives access to up to 15,000 hours of content including original shows, blockbuster movies, and classic television series.

It will include news, entertainment, sports, late-night, and reality from various NBCU properties including NBC, Bravo, and E!.

Just like other streaming services, Peacock will have their own original series including reboots of Save By The Bell, Punky Brewster, and Battlestar Galactica. They also have shows like Rutherford Falls (Ed Helms), Dr. Death (Alec Baldwin), and a behind-the-scenes docs-series about Saturday Night Live.

The company has acquired the rights to many classic shows like the entire Dick Wolf library including Law & Order and Chicago Fire, Parks and Recreation, and The Office.

The service will also feature blockbusters and critically-acclaimed films from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination and content acquired from Hollywood’s biggest studios.

“It could be our most profitable Olympics in our company’s history,” Shell said. “You know you have 17 days where you dominate every night.”

He pointed out that the U.S. Gymnastics team, led by Simone Biles, will be featured during the first week of the Games.

“She’s going to be on every night, and then our swimming team is really strong and our track and field team is really strong so I think we’re pretty, pretty optimistic about both the ratings and the economics of the Olympics and advertisers have embraced it,” Shell said.

The NFL season will follow on the heels of Tokyo. This year, all of NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcasts will be streamed on Peacock, and carried in Spanish on Telemundo.

NBC will play host to the Super Bowl in February, in SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, smack during the middle of the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing.

“So if you want to reach advertisers during the first quarter and you’re not on NBC, good luck,” Shell said.

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