Before the London 2012 Games started, the term “Socialympics” was trending on multiple social media channels. We all knew one thing was going happen for sure -traditional Olympic coverage would no longer be about television. In fact, a recent survey commissioned by Velti and conducted online by Harris Interactive in July, showed that 40 percent of those who planned to follow the Olympics intended to do so on two or more devices. Additionally, there was a greater presence of live streaming allowing people to watch live content in real time. By watching the Games via stream, viewers could then watch non-live content via traditional broadcast and mediums such as video clips and YouTube to learn deeper stories about the athletes and their trials and tribulations behind the scenes.
So, how has the broadcast playing field changed? With so many people receiving Olympic results in real time (or ahead of the broadcast as was the case for the US via NBC), logically one would think the audience for tape delayed coverage should have dropped off significantly — yet NBC’s ratings were stronger than ever. And in Canada, the CTV Olympic Consortium set Canadian broadcast viewership records.
What does this mean? What should broadcasters and sponsors learn from London 2012?
- It’s not just about finding out who wins. Even when you already know the outcome, it appears people want to see how the drama unfolds with commentary and context that cannot be delivered digitally
- Unique, in-depth, emotional storytelling is key
- Different screens serve different needs. If you want to watch events as they happen, wherever you happen to be, a smartphone or tablet is just the device to use. If you want the storytelling behind the event — profiles, interviews, history, — TV is the medium (net – a combination of both is what transpired)
- Sporting events are still inherently social. There’s just more ways to share the experience now. Back in the day, people gathered around TVs to share the Olympics experience; today, they’re just as likely to do so through their mobile devices.
For sponsors seeking to leverage and capitalize on the excitement around live events, this means that:
- To maximize audience reach you need to extend your program across all platforms. This requires a strategic blend of traditional and current mediums.
- Campaigns should reflect the way people use each platform: fast-paced experiences on mobile and online to reflect real-time excitement without getting in its way and deeper engagement and storytelling during time-shifted coverage.
We’ll cover more on this in our next post wrapping up what it takes for a winning sponsorship.
Canada: CTV Olympic Broadcast Consortium
- Cost $63 million ($153 – Vancouver and London)
- Didn’t make profit with this investment – it’s estimated the consortium sold $100mm in advertising sales offsetting a $30 million loss from Vancouver (net – a definite premium paid to secure the broadcast coverage for the Vancouver 2010 Games)
- The Win – CTV demonstrated it’s ability to deliver a holistic, superior program effectively blending traditional broadcast which digital — this will help the company win long term.
Most Watched Summer Games
- 100m Final – 3.8 million viewers
- Canadian Women’s Soccer bronze medal match 2.1 million viewers
- Swimming and Athletics – highest coverage (these events had the stars)
Record Viewership Audience
- Canadians watched a total of 662 million hours of Olympic coverage
- 31.9 million Canadians watched at least some of the coverage (an increase of 88% from Beijing)
- 22 hours daily coverage
- Approx. 2.1 million viewers at any give time during the coverage
- Typical Canadian watched 21 hours of Olympics over 17 days
- 3.4 million hours of content watched on internet
- Record 1.9 million viewers via website watched women’s soccer on Aug 9
- 1.1million consortium mobile apps downloaded (advertisers included Coca-Cola, McDonald’s signed on)
- 7.5 million viewership for the closing ceremonies (average 5.1 million viewers on CTV alone that reached nearly 17 million Canadians over the course of the entire event)
- NBC – 219.4 million viewers – most watched event in country’s history and record revenue generated
The bar for Olympic (and sport) coverage has been set. CBC will now have to capitalize on this. To deliver, CBC has the experience for traditional coverage, however, the pace of technology change is fast and CBC will have to be open to strategic partnerships allowing for a wider coverage and to have the flexibility to merge traditional coverage with digital coverage.
About “The Business of the Olympics”
The Olympics are one of the most watched events in the world. With so much potential revenue at stake, what makes a successful campaign? How can businesses launch marketing campaigns that are creative, innovative, and universal? THE KMAC GROUP’s “The Business of the Olympics” blog series answers these questions by analyzing select Olympic sponsors, on a global and domestic scale, highlighting their campaign successes and areas of improvement, as well as taking a look at key marketing practices during the Olympics such as “ambush” marketing, Olympic clothing licenses, and the risks involved with marketing during the Games. KMAC has advised and executed Olympic programs with sponsors for the 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012 Games.