Convergence And The Olympics
By Laurie Masonson, SVP, Media Relations, MSLGROUP Americas
This past Friday night, the 2012 Summer Olympic Games officially kicked off in London with the widely-discussed Opening Ceremony. (I must admit, I enjoyed the clever skit with Queen Elizabeth and 007!)
Over the 17 days of the London Games – spanning three weekends — more than 10,000 athletes from 204 countries will compete in 302 official Olympic events. How does a sports fan (or for that matter, someone who is not typically a sports fan) stay on top of it? Say you are a tennis fan looking for the Olympic competition in tennis – yes Federer, Serena and Roddick are all playing – can you watch it live?
Answers: Read on and yes.
Multi-platform Coverage Takes the Games
This is the first Olympics where viewers in America can take full advantage of the convergence of broadcast, cable, online and mobile coverage to watch every event live! (And they can of course follow everything on social media including Twitter and Facebook).
USA Today recently likened NBCUniversal’s coverage plan to the skills of “a savvy butcher…using all parts.”
In the past, the best stuff was held exclusively for primetime broadcast television (translation: tape delay). Now, NBCUniversal has you covered providing:
- 5,535 hours of coverage for the 2012 London Olympics
- across six TV networks — NBC, NBC Sports Network, MSNBC, CNBC, Bravo, and Telemundo –
- as well as on NBCOlympics.com, two specialty channels, and the first-ever 3D platform.
This is nearly 2,000 hours MORE coverage than NBC served up for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Here’s what’s key: in addition to the six television channels, NBCOlympics.com will live stream every event and sport for the first time ever. (Yes, you can watch at your desk at work, but you didn’t hear that from me!)
To access all of the live online coverage, you need to “authenticate” yourself as someone who subscribes to television. You can do that on your TV provider’s website.
For those tennis fans still with us, you can find the grass-court action on Bravo and online.
While you can watch the events live during the day, those that NBC will also show in primetime will not be available on demand (or for other TV networks to show highlights of) until after NBC’s primetime coverage each night.
That’s certainly a fair trade. Avid sports fans will tune in live or in primetime (or both). Casual sports fans who want NBC’s entertaining mix of features (John McEnroe’s profile of swimmer Ryan Lochte on Saturday night certainly grabbed my attention) and the best events of the day hosted by Bob Costas will tune in for the primetime shows. And of course, advertisers will activate around all.
Broadcast TV Still King!
NBCUniversal paid $1.18 billion for the U.S. media rights to the London Games so while it has catered to sports fans; it also has prime-time interests to protect. The NBC TV network will broadcast more than 272.5 hours of coverage – the most ever for an Olympic broadcast network.
Make no mistake; the best place to draw massive big-event audiences is still on broadcast television…not on cable channels and not online.
The opening ceremony that I mentioned earlier was televised exclusively on primetime on NBC. It drew an average of 40.7 million U.S. viewers on a Friday night – the most ever for an Olympics opening ceremony.
Saturday night’s coverage which featured Lochte swimming to a gold medal over Michael Phelps averaged nearly 29 million viewers on NBC.
NBC’s record two-night primetime average of more than 35 million viewers is what makes the advertisers keep coming back for more.
Laurie Masonson is a senior vice president specializing in media relations at MSLGROUP in New York, with 18 years experience in public relations, marketing communications and event publicity.