Olympics broadcasting outlook as clear as Rio's diving pool
* Games TV ratings show downward trend since 2008
* Hours viewed inc. online more than double from London to Rio
* New media disrupting old broadcast rights model
By Byron Kaye and Liana B. Baker
SYDNEY/RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug 21 (Reuters) - When the No. 1 TV station of sports-mad Australia revealed its Olympics broadcast would wipe $50 million from annual profits, it was more than a warning for shareholders - it was a sign that the business model of the Games was being shaken up.
It may not be quite as murky as the diving pool earlier in Rio, but the outlook for Olympics broadcasters has muddied, with declining viewer numbers for the 2016 Games likely to put pressure on television advertising rates for future events.
"Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Facebook are all sucking the bejesus out of the market," said Steve Allen, a former advertising buyer for Japanese agency Dentsu, who is now a consultant for the industry.
"They're taking increasing shares (of the advertising revenue) and that share has to come from someone."
An exodus of free-to-air television viewers to social media alternatives like Twitter Inc and Facebook Inc has undermined the ability of networks to recoup eye-popping Games broadcast rights costs, industry participants said. Continuación...