- More than 19 million Canadians watched the Opening Ceremony on TV
- The CBC Olympic app has been downloaded over 1 million times
- 2.5 million people have streamed more than 1.4 million hours of coverage
The Olympics. An event that is so well known worldwide that simply mentioning the name will spark images of the 5 rings, memorable moments and favourite athletes in people’s heads. As an event that takes place every two years, it is something that most people look forward to and some even train for. But how is it that the Olympics have such a global reach?
It’s presence may be attributed to the millions of dollars companies spend on advertising, or the sheer excitement behind the large sporting stage, but do you ever stop to think that it also may be due to the widespread coverage of the games? With some companies spending in excess of $1 billion for exclusive coverage rights, we are able to sit at home or on the train and watch the drama unfold before our eyes; which if we’re honest is what we really want.
In August of 2012 it was announced that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) would have exclusive rights to broadcast the 2014 Winter and 2016 Summer Olympic Games after winning the bid from CTV (who broadcast the 2010 and 2012 Games). With this announcement, CBC will extend their history with the Olympics that dates back almost 60 years and a total coverage of 19 games.
When CTV announced in 2011 that they would not be submitting a bid for the 2014/2016 Olympic broadcasting rights (due to scheduling conflicts and financial priorities), CTV saw the opportunity to return to the world of Olympics and provide the coverage that so many Canadians crave. CBC initially sought out a partnership with Bell Media to provide coverage for the Games where they submitted 2 joint bids. After having both of these rejected, CBC announced that they would no longer be making joint bids with Bell for the media rights and that their next bid would be individual and cost-neutral. Although the final amount was not disclosed, it was announced that the accepted bid was financially responsible and cost less than half of the $153 million that CTV paid for the 2010/2012 Games.
In an effort to provide the most amount of coverage for a Winter Games, CBC sublicensed rights to Bell Media stations including TSN, Sportsnet, and RDS. This agreement will result in a total of over 1,500 hours of coverage across multiple digital platforms topping 729 hours in Torino however still falling short of the 4,500 hours broadcast in Vancouver in 2010. With coverage available on TV, mobile applications, and online, fans will be able to stay connected to the Games no matter where they are. Also, as a national supporter of the Canadian Olympic Team, Bell (who owns the sublicensed stations) will be providing CBC’s coverage on demand through Bell Mobile TV and the Bell TV app.
Generally, broadcasting stations look at the Olympics as an opportunity to showcase to the nation the extent of their ability to cover sports. By bringing the worlds biggest sporting stage to millions of screens across the country and connecting us with the gold medal moments, stations are able to make a connection with viewers. They clearly see value in this because every two years companies battle to hold the exclusive broadcasting rights.
But with an Olympics where all the action happens 9 hours ahead of most Canadians, the question gets asked as to why broadcasters still place such importance on TV coverage, especially with all of the available live mobile coverage.
There are three main reasons for this.
- Many Canadians, much like myself, are eager to be up to date on what is happening in the Olympics. This means that results are constantly being checked throughout the day. The only problem though is that a lot of people only have time for the 10 seconds it takes to refresh the app or log on to the website; they don’t have time to actually watch the gold medal performances. This is where the primetime TV coverage plays such a crucial role since it gives people who are too busy during the day a chance to catch up on all the action that happened earlier on.
- There are some people who will watch the Olympic primetime coverage even though they were up at 3 that morning to watch the same event live. These are the people who eat, sleep and breathe Olympics and like to re-live every moment possible.
- One of the major reasons people are tuning into the Olympic primetime is because of CBC’s athletes in review. CBC has gone behind the scenes to tell you all about the life of some of your favourite athletes. Detailing many milestones in their lives and showing you what they have done to be where they are today provides a deeper connection with our athletes and our country at the Olympics. This content is not available online or on mobile devices which is helping to drive more traffic to TV coverage and provide higher viewership numbers for CBC.
Although the IOC maintains that the broadcasters should break-even from hosting the Games, there is still a desire to make a connection with viewers, which CBC is doing through their coverage. By being able to provide content at all hours of the day, on demand no matter where the viewers are is what tells people that you are a reliable source of sports coverage. So even though CBC will likely not make any money off the deal, they will promote their brand and showcase their abilities as a top news and sports broadcaster.
As long as CBC continues to provide the coverage Canadians crave, with multiple options on how to view it, their 20th Olympic broadcast should be a success.
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