Could Olympics dent, not boost, VOD ad prospects?

Large summer sporting events, and the advertising that goes with them, are usually considered a much-needed boost for broadcasters, print and online publishers.

But, in the UK, concern is growing that the London 2012 Olympics could have the opposite effect.

paidContent has heard multiple worries, from online ad sales executives this week, that UK TV advertising, and even online video advertising, will this summer turn down by seven to eight percent from last year.

The reason is, the BBC, which does not run advertising in the UK, owns UK Olympic broadcast rights.

Many eyeballs are expected to gravitate to watching unmonetisable BBC Olympics broadcasts and streams. That, the theory goes, could mean advertisers pull back on spending in other areas during the same period.

The fears tally with a recent forecast from analysts Liberium Capital (via Marketing Week).

But they are not universal. One ad agency executive tells me sales across all platforms are up against summer 2011 and that the internet has plenty of alternative advertising opportunities. But these higher ad sales are not up by as much as the agency had hoped, due to economic circumstances.

Outlets are at least benefitting from the current Euro 2012 competition, which is taking place weeks ahead of the Olympics.

WPP, the world’s largest ad agency, in April forecast: “The three maxi-quadrennial events of 2012, the UEFA Football Championships in Central and Eastern Europe, the Summer Olympics and Paralympics in London and last, but not least, the US Presidential Elections in November should underpin industry growth by 1% alone this year.”