NBC perception suffered after executives ousted long-time news anchor Ann Curry, but Olympics coverage temporarily bumped up the network’s Buzz score and viewer ratings.
Consumer opinion of the network fell after NBC axed its Today Show news anchor in light of falling viewer ratings. The exit of Ms. Curry was reported in the U.S. press on June 21 and she made an emotional exit from the show on the morning of June 28.
Among the 18-49 demographic, Buzz score for NBC declined from 13.4 on June 20 before the story broke to 6.7 on July 5, a week after Ms. Curry left the show. The event coincides with a consistent downward trend in perception for NBC, which bottomed out among 18-49 year-olds at -1.8 on August 06.
The YouGov BrandIndex Buzz score measures consumer perception of a brand by asking respondents: “Have you heard anything positive or negative about this brand”. Positive and negative scores are combined to leave a range of -100 (entirely negative sentiment) to 100 (entirely positive sentiment). Results were filtered for 18-49 year-olds, the target demographic traditionally cited for advertisers.
The Olympic Games signaled a period of modest recovery for NBC perception. Buzz for the network initially declined from the Opening Ceremony on July 27 (with a score of 1.6) to -1.8 on August 08, the second week of coverage. It was in the later period of the Games that 18-49 year-olds responded well to NBC. From August 08 to August 14 (the Tuesday after the Closing Ceremony) Buzz score rose slightly from -1.8 to 2.7. Despite criticism over tape delays and footage editing, NBC dubbed its Olympics coverage a success. Network ratings during the Games drew 219 million viewers, making it the most-watched TV event in the U.S.
NBC Sports Network saw a more marked improvement in consumer perception. On the day of the Opening Ceremony NBC Sports had a neutral Buzz score of 0, which reached 4.8 by August 13. This suggests that the improved brand health of NBC Sports potentially had a halo effect on NBC, which received a lesser perception boost.
However, now that the Olympics have ended, both NBC and NBC Sports’ Buzz scores have retreated, indicating that the perception improvement was short-lived.