Olympic broadcasters back social to boost Games audience

The Seven Network’s Rio 2016 Media Kit has a pertinent quote from Kurt Burnette (Seven’s Event Director - Olympic Games and Chief Revenue Officer), where he notes that:

You are about to become deeply involved with what we are now referring to as “the very first unmissable Olympic Games”.

This statement is in reference to the fact that Seven’s Olympic coverage will be practically everywhere, namely across four TV broadcast channels, as well as online and mobile via Seven’s digital properties, including its new ‘Olympics on 7’ app.  The story is similar in the United States, where rights holder NBC will present an unprecedented 6,755 hours of programming across multiple platforms.

While advancement in technology has allowed traditional broadcasters such as Seven and NBC to now provide Olympic coverage right across their various traditional and new media properties, what is interesting about the coverage of Olympics this year is that both Seven and NBC, for their respective markets, have struck deals with leading social media platforms to show Olympic content on those platforms. Previously Olympic content would have been seen as content that could not be shared (due to its price tag and associated brand value). However, now in the second decade of the 21st century with millions worldwide using social media daily, traditional media can no longer ignore the direct access to audience that social media provides (along with additional advertising/revenue opportunities). The power of social media is now being utilised by broadcasters for arguably the biggest broadcast event, the Olympic Games. For example, Seven and NBC, in the lead-up to their Rio 2016 coverage, have both announced deals with Snapchat:

  • Seven will be collaborating with Snapchat via Snapchat’s Live Stories product. The service will showcase key moments in and around the Olympic Games, via impromptu Snaps from fans, organizers and even athletes in and around Rio events. Importantly, Snapchat Live Stories will also feature advertisements from Seven’s broadcast partners who will be spotlighted via Snap Ads, up-to ten second full screen vertical video ads interspersed into the Live Stories.
  • NBC’s arrangement with Snapchat will see Snapchat set up a dedicated channel on the mobile app for the Rio 2016 games. According to Bloomberg, media company BuzzFeed will curate short clips and behind-the-scenes content into a Discover channel on the app for two weeks, while Snapchat creates daily “live stories” using content from NBC, athletes and sports fans at the scene.

Commenting on the Snapchat deal for Seven, Kurt Burnette said:

“Some of the greatest stories to be told will unfold during the Olympic Games. This deal will allow those stories to be told and shared in new ways, for the fans and our advertisers, like never before. This underlines our approach in ensuring we continue to secure the audiences advertisers are seeking, no matter how or where our audiences engage with our content, broadening our audience delivery across devices and leverage the strength of our broadcast television platform.”

Seven and NBC have also reportedly signed deals with Twitter for the sharing of Olympic content. NBC will also share content on Facebook. Earlier this week Seven announced a further deal, this time with Google, where Australians searching for Olympics in Google Search will see them discover event schedules, medal counts, athlete information and Seven’s video highlights, amongst other things. In addition, Seven has created a ‘7Olympics’ YouTube Channel for Australian audiences, where daily highlights, reviews, and commentaries can be found.

So when Kurt Burnette says this will be “the very first unmissable Olympic Games” one can understand why, as these traditional media companies are now using social media to engage with younger demographics to ensure that as many eyeballs as possible are watching the Olympics and being exposed to advertisers who are backing the broadcaster’s coverage. Even though this means co-branding of the content with the social media platform.

It is exciting to see that broadcasters are happy to share Olympic content through social media because if you are on a social media platform and happen to see highlights of an Olympic event, you may very well then open the broadcaster’s Olympic app or turn on the TV, when you otherwise wouldn’t have.

Two weeks of unmissable pure sport is about to begin!


Seven’s Media Kit for Rio 2016

How to watch the 2016 Rio Olympic Games

You’ll be able to watch Olympics highlights on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter

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