Oxygen Adds Olympics Coverage

Feb 10, 2008  •  Post A Comment

NBC Universal plans to breathe some Oxygen into the Olympics.
The women-oriented cable network acquired last year by NBC Universal will carry a two-hour Olympics block featuring extensive commentary on the gymnastics competition from 6 to 8 p.m. ET, before NBC’s prime-time Olympics coverage.
Oxygen also will carry coverage of equestrian events, tennis, rhythmic gymnastics and synchronized swimming.
The Olympics programming is expected to attract new viewers to Oxygen and allow it to promote its other programming, said Lauren Zalaznick, the NBC Universal executive named president of Oxygen Media after the acquisition.
After the deal was done, “The strategic thinking happened pretty quickly,” Ms. Zalaznick said. “We look for immediate lift, immediate benefit and immediate synergies, and nothing could give lift, benefit and synergy more than the Olympics.”
NBC Universal plans to present more than 3,600 hours of coverage of the 2008 Olympics. In addition to Oxygen, Olympic programming is expected to be carried on channels including NBC, CNBC, MSNBC, USA Network and Telemundo, which all carried Olympic programming four years ago, plus the company’s high-definition outlets.
Bravo will not feature the Games, said Ms. Zalaznick, who also is head of NBC Universal’s Bravo Media.
For the first time ever in the U.S., live streaming video coverage of Olympic events will be available on NBCOlympics.com.
NBC Universal expects to sell a record $1.1 billion in advertising during the Olympics. The ad time during the Oxygen Olympics is being sold by NBC Universal’s Sports and Olympics group, but the promo time is being retained by Oxygen.
Ms. Zalaznick said it hasn’t yet been determined what programming would be promoted during the Olympics, or what the network would schedule in prime time while NBC was broadcasting Olympic events.
In the past few weeks, Ms. Zalaznick has named Jason Klarman as general manager of Oxygen and revamped the network’s research department. She’s planning to put together programming and marketing strategies for the network in time for the upfront advertising market in the spring.
With NBC Universal providing increased distribution and promotion, an Oxygen original movie, “Husband for Hire,” cracked the 1 million-viewer mark for the first time last month.
Ms. Zalaznick said the addition of Olympics coverage to Oxygen was very exciting to the network’s staff.
“They really didn’t know what it meant to be acquired and owned by the big bad media machine. For this first big cross-platform play to be the Olympics was an incredible energizer for the whole Oxygen team, and we feel like it’s going to do the same thing for the Oxygen audience,” she said.
Ms. Zalaznick said she hadn’t yet thought about whether Oxygen staffers or viewers would be sent to the Olympics, but said she was hoping to go.
She doesn’t have tickets yet, but “I can hitch my way to Beijing, I suppose.”


  1. I hope that an effort will be made to show coverage of the equestrian events. Historically, they have had to take a back seat to other events or are aired at time slots without notification to interested viewers. Do you have the equestrian events in your schedule for broadcasting?

  2. I am looking for coverage of the equestrian events. They were hard to find 4 yrs ago and would like to know the scheduled times if possible. It is very important for young riders to be able to see them.

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