For 2016 Summer Olympics, TV Ratings Sag; Digital Consumption Soars

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The opening Olympic ceremonies in Rio de Janeiro got off to a disappointing start. According to Nielson, the broadcast was down 35 percent from the 2012 London Opening ceremonies. The opening ceremonies this year drew 25.5 million viewers.

Content is being consumed across a wider range of channels, devices, and even through virtual reality. Consequently, viewers watching this year's games from second-screen devices are expected to top out at 85 percent, according to Global Web Index, which also estimates users will spend an average of 41 minutes watching online video. Additionally, fans on Rio 2016's Facebook page are expected to exceed 1.4 billion. As a comparison, the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London primed the course for digital media's Gold medal moment, with 15 million downloads of the official Olympics app, 150 million Olympic-related Tweets, and 100 million Facebook comments.

From this early point, it appears as though the 2016 Summer Games is set to take digital fan engagement and the multi-screen phenomenon to the next level. Some of NBC digital offerings, according to NBC, include:

-- For the first time, the NBC broadcast network content will be streamed, including the primetime show.

-- Video-on-demand through NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app will offer video-on-demand coverage, including athlete profiles and features, full-event replays, and short-form highlights. So if viewers are watching a swimming event, they could click through and see all of Michael Phelp's stats.

-- As a complement to the live streaming available on the NBC Sports app, the NBC Olympics: Rio News & Results app will provide the latest Olympic news and results, extensive video highlights, TV listings, and medal standings.

-- NBC Olympics will produce two digital-only programs, a social-focused video franchise, and a news desk that provides regular updates during the Games for NBCOlympics.com and the NBC Sports app.

-- NBC Olympics will provide Virtual Reality (VR) coverage of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games exclusively to authenticated users of compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphones together with Samsung Gear VR via the NBC Sports app, marking the first time Olympics programming will be available in VR.

-- In May, NBC Sports Digital launched a new technology service, Playmaker Media, to provide end-to-end support for companies in need of best-in-class live streaming and VOD solutions.

-- The ability to insert targeted ads into broadcasts through Adobe Analytics.

For marketers, this year's Olympics represent unsurpassed opportunity. With new platforms like live video, new live streaming solutions, improved measurement and tailored engagement, advanced statistics and data visualization, and newer Millennial-focused social players like Snapchat and Instagram, these Summer Games offer robust targeting and engagement options.

Brands are taking advantage. Ford, for instance, has launched an aggressive Snapchat campaign. And GoPro launched a YouTube series called "Two Roads" that shows the Olympic journeys of nine athletes, including the Bryan Brothers of tennis, and pole vaulter Allison Stokke.

By the closing ceremonies, the 2016 Summer Olympics could very well prove that second-screen apps are a force to be reckoned with and a major feature in how marketers will engage with customers and prospects both young and old in the coming months and years.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION