On Wednesday, one Maryland company, Sinclair Broadcast Group, told investors that it would enjoy a revenue boost from the Olympics.
But on Thursday, another Maryland media company told its investors that the games will hurt its viewership. The reason: Swedish eyeballs are glued to other channels.
Discovery Communications Inc. reported fourth quarter and full-year 2013 performance on Thursday. While ratings decreased at Discovery Channel and TLC in the fourth quarter, they increased during the month of January.
“With the regained ratings momentum in January that David mentioned and with the healthy macro environment continuing, we anticipate ad sales growth will accelerate in the first quarter 2014 despite competition from the Olympics,” said Chief Financial Officer Andrew Warren during a conference call with investors.
That last clause brought on some questions.
In answer, CEO David Zaslav acknowledged the impact of the games, but he did not seem overly worried by it.
“There’s no question the Olympics is having an effect on ratings, but our strategy has worked,” he said. “We see our ratings are down on a few of our networks in a meaningful way, but we expected that, and when the Olympics end, we’re going to push hard to have those viewers come back.”
Discovery, which has seen significant revenue growth from its international operations, sees the biggest impact from the Olympics in its Nordic markets, said Zaslav.
But even still, he and Warren expressed confidence for the first quarter.
And after all, Warren said, “Olympics is really only three weeks.”