August 2, 2012 / 6:25 PM / 7 years ago

NBC defends Olympics coverage while acknowledging mistakes

* NBC has aired two-thirds of events live

* Acknowledges social media criticism

* Would consider streaming to non-pay TV subscribers in future

By Liana B. Baker

Aug 2 (Reuters) - NBC Sports Group Chairman Mark Lazarus gave an impassioned defense of the network’s Olympics coverage on a conference call Thursday, but conceded some of the criticism leveled at the network has been “fair.”

Lazarus, along with NBC Research President Alan Wurtzel, addressed gripes about tape-delaying events to air in prime-time by noting that NBC’s stable of TV networks has so far aired two-thirds of the events from London live, about 158.5 live hours out of 274 total hours.

Lazarus said the London Games’ tape-delayed prime-time ratings despite the complaints have so far topped the live prime-time ratings for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. So far, NBC has averaged more than 30 million viewers for the games, making it the highest-rated Olympics, su rp assing the 1996 summer games in Atlanta.

On the business side, he said NBC , which at one point stood to lose $200 million on the event, now has a small chance of making “a little bit of money” because of the strong ratings performance.

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