Morning Coffee Aug 02 2012

Olympic Winners and Losers

By Beecher Tuttle

Already on the hook for $1.18 billion for the exclusive U.S. rights to broadcast the 2012 Summer Olympics, NBC is slowly working itself out of the hole.

The network confirmed that it reached its goal of booking $100 million in ad sales before the start of the Olympics, giving executives hope that the broadcaster may break even on the London Games. NBC lost more than $220 million during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, according to Bloomberg.

The network initially forecasted a loss of roughly $200 million for the 2012 Summer Games but has been pleasantly surprised with its prime time ratings, despite heightened criticism for its tape-delayed broadcasts and general complaints about the quality of coverage. Ratings for this year's games were expected to take a significant dip compared to the 2008 Beijing Olympics but the viewership is "way up," NBCUniversal CEO Steve Burke told Bloomberg.

While the Olympics have been rather successful for NBC, at least monetarily, the same can't be said for local London retailers. Rather than helping to boost sales, the games have inspired tourists and local shoppers to steer clear of the city, leading to reduced retail sales totals.

In West London, store traffic on July 27, the day of the opening ceremony, was down more than 10% compared to a year ago. The pattern was even more pronounced the following day.

Sales Buzz

Daily Makes Cuts (WSJ)

News Corp.'s tablet-optimized e-newspaper, The Daily, has laid off almost one-third of its 170-person staff. A source told The Wall Street Journal that the cuts are an effort to "tighten the belt," not shut down the publication.

Understaffed and They Know It (Fox News)

More than one-third of small businesses owners believe their firms are understaffed, but only 21% plan to hire anytime soon. Declining sales numbers are the biggest challenge for small businesses to overcome.

Zynga Reorg (Bloomberg)

Looking to recover from a brutal second quarter loss of $22.8 million, social game maker Zynga has stripped Chief Operating Officer John Schappert of his game development oversight duties.

Marketing Buzz

Yahoo Teams With Blip (Ad Age)

Yahoo and Blip have signed a partnership deal that will enable each company to redistribute each other's Web programming and video series. The new partners will share the ad revenue.

Spotify Singing a Different Tune (Bloomberg)

More than 5 million users have signed up for Spotify's ad-supported music service since January, running the total number of nonpaid users up to 15 million. Spotify boasts 4 million paid users.

DDM Poaches New Exec (Adweek)

Mike Harris, chief strategy officer at agency twofifteenmccann, is leaving the company to become the new president of DDB West.

Buzz Around the Office

Intentionally Bad-Minton (AP)

Eight female badminton doubles players were given the heave-ho from the Olympics for intentionally tanking games to match up with easier opponents in future rounds.

List of the Day: Reasons to Stay Plugged In

As much as you want to leave your iPhone at home on vacation, here are some reasons to bring it.

1. You can prevent a small problem from getting bigger.

2. You'll have less to do upon your return.

3. It will help encourage you to take a vacation in the first place, knowing you can stay connected.

(Source: MoneyWatch)

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