TV Answer Man, I got a notice from Comcast that it’s taking off the Olympic Channel. As a Dad to a future Olympic track star, that upsets me. We enjoy watching shows and documentaries about the Olympics. Do you know what is going on here? — Paul, Toledo, Ohio.
Paul, the NBC-owned Olympic Channel, which has been a showcase for the network’s exclusive coverage of the Winter and Summer games, is ceasing operations on September 30. In a statement released last month, NBC stated that it would provide Olympic content on other platforms this fall.
NBC also owns the streaming service, Peacock, which would seem to be a perfect landing spot for the Olympic Channel’s mix of documentaries, live events and highlights from past games.
“In order to best reach our target audiences, we are re-evaluating our programming distribution strategy regarding the content that currently airs on Olympic Channel: Home of Team USA with our partners at the IOC and USOPC,” the network said. “We will be announcing our exciting new plans for Olympic content in the fall.”
The shuttering of the Olympic Channel is another example of how difficult it is for a niche channel to survive in an era when pay TV subscribers are shrinking. Cable and satellite operators, which are struggling to maintain profits, are less likely now to pay carriage fees to channels with narrow audiences.
The Olympic Channel launched in 2017 but is available in less than 50 million homes, far less than other NBC-owned channels such as USA Network and Bravo.
Paul, hope that makes sense. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann