Only now, when an Olympic Games is in full flight, can you fully appreciate the enormity of these biannual global broadcast events – the volume of TV coverage, the amount of conversations it generates across social media, the 24-hour news stories – it’s inescapable.
Over the last few years, the Olympic Games have seen massive growth in terms of content reach and engagement globally. This year, over 5 billion people worldwide will have access to the PyeongChang 2018 TV coverage, representing 9 in 10 people with access to TV. That’s over a billion more than the total audience reported in the last Winter Olympics, Sochi 2014. But the real change in the consumption of the Olympic Games – and across sports competition in general - comes through non-traditional channels.
Delivering content to younger audiences online
The fundamental IOC broadcast policy as described in the Olympic Charter is to ensure “maximum presentation of the Olympic Games to the world”. Industry reports that have looked into media consumption habits in recent years, including those conducted by Imagen, have highlighted how audiences (particularly younger generations) have started to turn away from traditional, linear TV broadcasting; opting instead to ‘snack’ on short pieces of the latest content across online channels.
Increased online consumption of media was certainly seen in the UK across the last Winter Olympic Games with the BBC’s online and mobile coverage of Sochi 2014 generating an increase of 174% pageviews with an 82% increase in video views versus Vancouver 2010.
To meet these new demands for online content in order to reach the biggest audience possible and also reduce an aging Olympic viewership, the IOC reported that the amount of content available on digital platforms during Pyeongchang 2018 is expected to be close to double that which is aired on TV. This is the result of increased online production vs TV production across the last few Winter Olympics.
Video gives social media a level playing field
Social media has proven itself to be the perfect partner to live action – providing a popular, real time forum for conversation between an engaged audience. Twitter, on average, sees a +4.1% lift in unique visitors during key live entertainment and sporting events throughout the world – the recent Super Bowl generated a massive 19% uplift in unique visitors. Even if the action is on the TV, the conversation and the real engagement lives on social.
However, the initial inception and subsequent growth of video content within social media platforms in the last 5-10 years, has seen it become its own online video distribution channel and a crucial piece in the overall digital content strategy for most large broadcast events. Social media is especially suited to sports or award shows where there are pockets of action that are perfect for sharing as short highlight clips. This was seen to good effect at the BAFTAs just last week.
Until recent Olympic Games, social media was still used as a majority text and image-based news outlet and chat forum – it brought you the latest updates from the events but it hadn’t fully grown to encapsulate broadcast video as we know it now. Since Rio 2016, the whole focus has shifted.
During the most recent summer Olympics, NBC – US broadcaster for the games – generated over 600 million video views on its Facebook page and 35 million Snapchat users watched over 230 million minutes of Olympic content.
Though many argue that social media video has a cannibalistic effect on TV viewership, a recent article in Wired argued that NBC would “not get the most out of its investment” if it failed to take advantage of the additional engagement that social media video promises. The president of NBC Olympics, Gary Zenkel agreed; commenting that it actually makes the audience “more engaged”.
Serving large volumes of ‘snackable’ content
Pyeongchang 2018 is certainly setting its stall out as “the Content Games”, with Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) producing a record-breaking amount of coverage and making use of the latest video technology such as 4K, 8K and VR to do so.
But when producing and delivering an Olympics Games in varied formats across multiple fronts (TV, online, social media, etc.) in real-time, it is the efficient management and distribution of the latest content that really facilitates an all-encompassing and truly engaging experience for the audience. The ability to capture and clip live and near-live content for immediate delivery to a number of distribution channels and partners is crucial when looking to capitalise on your audience’s new and varied demands for content.
For more information about delivering video to multiple channels efficiently, request a demo of Imagen.